Pharmacy Negligence Claims
Just as your doctor has when they prescribe your medication, your pharmacy has a duty of care to ensure you do not receive a drug which will harm your health. Dispensing medication may appear to be a straightforward process to the patient – they go into a pharmacy, hand over their prescription, and are given a bag with the correct medicine in it. Behind the scenes, however, is a different story.
Pharmacists are degree educated and follow strict protocol to minimise any risk to a patient’s health. The NHS estimates over one billion items are prescribed in England every year, which is around 2.7 million items every day. Such huge numbers make it easy to understand how pharmacy errors happen.
The results of a dispensing error can range from minimal to life changing. At best, the condition you are receiving treatment for will not improve. At worst, you could suffer a severe and adverse reaction and require emergency intervention. In very rare instances, pharmacy negligence has had fatal results.
If you have fallen ill as the result of pharmacy negligence, contact The Medical Negligence Experts for advice about claiming compensation.
What is Pharmacy Negligence?
The process of dispensing medicines in the UK is a comprehensive one, designed to minimise the risk of mistakes. Pharmacies are required to keep a record of all medications they dispense, as well as intervene (and maintain a record of this) when they believe a prescribed medication may pose a threat to a patient’s health.
Instances of pharmacy negligence can include:
- Making an error reading a prescription and dispensing the wrong type or dose.
- Giving a patient incorrect advice about how, or how often, to take their medicine.
- Keeping inadequate records regarding medicine dispensed to individual patients.
- Failing to perform required legal and clinical checks for accuracy.
- Failing to have sufficient processes to ensure the integrity of the products (for example, only obtaining them from approved suppliers to ensure they are not counterfeit).
- Neglecting to advise patients about potential side effects.
- Storing medication incorrectly, such as at the wrong temperature. Failing to inform the patient of how to store medicine correctly at home.
- Allowing a repeat prescription to continue for an extended period without a patient re-visiting their GP.
An example of a successful compensation claim for pharmacy negligence involved a patient who died after being given medication meant for another patient. The man’s name on the outside of the box was correct, but the medication inside was labelled for a different patient. The man, who was registered blind, was unable to notice the discrepancy. An investigation found the assistant who assembled the prescription had not followed standard procedure (she had cut open a box to add additional pills that had been requested) and that the pharmacist who checked the box only looked to see if the extra medication had been added, not that it was in the right name.
Another case study of a successful pharmacy negligence claim relates to a woman who fell into a hypoglycemic coma after a pharmacist dispensed tablets which reduce blood sugar levels, typically given to diabetic patients, despite her having never suffered from diabetes.
Talk to The Medical Negligence Experts if you, or someone you love, has been harmed by a dispensing error. Our medical negligence lawyers have the necessary knowledge and experience of pharmacy negligence claims to help you obtain maximum compensation in the shortest possible time, giving you the financial resources you need to help you recover and move on from your illness or injury.
How to protect yourself from Pharmacy Negligence
Whether taking prescribed medication is an everyday occurrence or something you do only occasionally, you can help protect yourself by doing these things.
- Check that the medicine you have received matches the name and dosage of that on your prescription.
- If you have several boxes, look to see that your name is on all of them, and if they are labelled outside and in, that your name is on both parts.
- Ask the pharmacist to confirm how to take your medicine. For example, if you take two tablets daily are these taken together or should you have one in the morning and one at night? Do they need to be taken with food or on an empty stomach? How should they be stored?
- It may be convenient not to have to visit the GP, but do not allow a repeat prescription to continue for longer than your doctor advises without having a check up, especially if you believe the medicine is either not helping or is having an adverse effect.
- If you are taking any other medication, let the pharmacist know and ask whether there are any concerns about the combination. Your doctor should also check at the time they write the prescription.
How Can We Help?
To make a claim for compensation due to pharmacy negligence you need to prove both that you received substandard treatment and that this caused you to suffer illness or injury. The Medical Negligence Experts team will first determine whether you have likely grounds for a claim, then collate and submit this evidence with a request to the responsible party for compensation.
Our lawyers have experience in handling all types of medical negligence claims, including pharmacy negligence. We know it can be many months – sometimes more than a year – from the day a client makes their initial enquiry until the conclusion of their claim. No client’s request is the same as anyone else’s as the circumstances are always unique. It doesn’t matter how many medical negligence claims we process, we never lose sight of the person at the centre who suffered hardship or damage due to being let down by health care professionals a time when they needed help.
Pharmacy Negligence Compensation FAQ
We have provided the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about pharmacy negligence here, but please contact The Medical Negligence Experts if we have not answered your question or you want to know more about making a claim. We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation where we can talk specifically about your circumstances and advise whether you may be entitled to request payment of damages.
Can I claim compensation?
If you have received the wrong medication from your pharmacist and it has caused you to fall ill or exacerbated the condition you were receiving treatment for, and it happened within the last three years, then you may have legitimate grounds to claim compensation for pharmacy negligence. A medical negligence lawyer at The Medical Negligence Experts can look at the specific details of your situation and give more information relating to your particular circumstances.
How much compensation will I receive?
It is understandable that prospective claimants want an idea of their potential compensation payment before they invest their time and effort into starting a claim. Your payment will be based on two amounts: general and special damages. General damages are paid in recognition of the pain and suffering the negligence has caused. There are industry guidelines – revised and updated regularly – so your solicitor will be able to give you an indication of what you may expect based on the nature of your injury.
The second part of your compensation payment, special damages, is to cover you for any out of pocket expenses caused by your injury. These costs can include private rehabilitative treatment, prescription charges, travel expenses to and from medical appointments or hospital, and lost income if you had to take extra time off work to recover, or the cost of your partner or spouse’s time if they have been unable to work while caring for you. If you are unsure whether an expense may be recoverable with special damages, ask your lawyer.
How long does a pharmacy compensation claim take?
Most compensation claims for medical negligence take between 18 and 24 months. This may seem like a long time, but it can take several months for your lawyer to gather the evidence necessary to prove that you were treated negligently and that this was directly responsible for your ill health or injury. Once your claim has been submitted, the other party has up to four months to investigate from their side and respond, before negotiations begin over the proportion of liability and the amount of compensation to be paid.
Claims that have to go to court, either because the other party refuses to admit responsibility or because you can’t agree on a fair payment, take longer, as do claims involving complicated injuries where the extent of long-term damage is initially unclear.
Will I have to go to court?
It is possible, though very unlikely that your claim will go to court. In addition to the two above examples of disagreement over liability or a fair payment amount, you will have to go to court if you are acting as a litigation friend for a close friend or family member. As compensation in these cases goes into a trust, the amount of the payment needs to be approved by a judge.
The NHS resolves 98% of all compensation claims made against it in out-of-court settlements, and we will do all we can to make sure your claim is resolved out-of-court as well.
Is there a time limit for raising a claim?
You need to raise your claim within three years of your injury or of the date your injury was linked to pharmacy negligence, whichever is the most recent. Expert legal advice is not to wait, but to talk to a lawyer as soon as you believe your injury was due to negligent care. Not only will this give you the information you need to make the right decision about whether to pursue compensation, but it will also help with support and funding so you can access the best rehabilitative treatment. In addition, it can mean your case is processed faster as obtaining information like reliable witness statements and medical records is easier when events are fresh in people’s minds.
How do No Win No Fee pharmacy claims work?
No Win No Fee* claims make it affordable for everyone to access quality legal representation when they need it. Sometimes referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), they are an arrangement where your solicitor takes on the financial risk of making a claim. You pay nothing up front, and none of your lawyer’s costs if your claim is not successful. If you win you pay a success fee, which is an agreed percentage of your total compensation payment. By law, this can not be more than 25%, and it will be openly discussed at the start of your claim so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed.
In addition to removing the financial risk for the claimant, No Win No Fee* pharmacy claims provide the added security that your claim has a good chance of winning. Lawyers carefully assess the information around an application before agreeing to take a case on a No Win No Fee basis, and will not do so unless they believe there is at least a 60% likelihood of winning. Another benefit is that you know your lawyer will be working their hardest to secure the maximum compensation for you as their payment depends on their success.
If you lose your claim, you may be liable to pay the defendant’s legal fees. Your lawyer will help determine whether you have adequate cover under and existing legal policy and advise if you need to take out an After the Event insurance policy to cover the expense if you do not.
You have nothing to lose by making a free enquiry, and you will receive top quality legal advice. Our expert solicitors handle claims on a No Win No Fee* basis to make claiming affordable for everyone.
Contact The Medical Negligence Experts today and let us help you find out whether you can make a claim for compensation and, if so, how to proceed to get the best possible outcome. You can call free or fill in our online form and ask us to phone at a time that is convenient for you.
Need some help?
Am I eligible?
If you have suffered from medical negligence in the past 3 years, the short answer is yes.
However, medical negligence can be complicated, so we recommend that you speak with one of our expert solicitors - It’s Free.
How much could I claim?
As every medical case is different, the amount of compensation paid out can differ. Varying factors lead to the final figure include: the level of negligence, earnings missed out on, future losses and more.
Our experienced team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim.
How does the process work?
We understand that when making a claim it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it. That’s why we make the process as transparent as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and will notify the negligent party of your claim. With your dedicated solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be kept up to date every step of the way.
Why should you use us?
No Win No Fee
We offer a No Win No Fee* service on all our claims - We assess each claim on its merits with the information provided, which aids us to determine its likely success rate. This takes the risk away from you.
Expert, Friendly Solicitors
Our experienced solicitors are experts in securing compensation no matter the level of negligence.
We are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you, while providing friendly support every step of the way.
Personal Dedicated Solicitors
On contact, you will be allocated your own expert Medical Negligence solicitor who will be there every step of the way. You will be provided with a direct phone number and direct email address of your solicitor.
Expert pharmacy claims solicitors working for you
We specialise in helping victims of medical negligence claim the compensation they deserve.
We work on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay! Once you make contact, your experienced solicitor will work to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Whether you are ready to make a pharmacy negligence claim, or you would just like a free conversation with a legal professional, we have experts on hand to give you all the information you need. Take the first step to getting what you deserve by filling in our quick contact form and we will call you back whenever suits you.