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What Is Considered Pharmacist Misconduct?

Jeff Varcadipane

February 29, 2024

Health professionals have a strict duty of care when treating their patients. These include pharmacists, who are expected to act with honesty and integrity as required by their medical professional code of ethics. Unfortunately, 7,000 to 9,000 patients die every year due to medication errors, including pharmacist misconduct, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. Lots of other patients experience adverse reactions to medication and other complications.

Pharmacist misconduct is considered when a pharmacist’s behavior falls below the expected standards according to their professional code of ethics, laws, or regulations. As a result of pharmacists’ misconduct, victims may suffer severe and even life-threatening complications. At Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC, we advise patients to take immediate legal action if they suspect a pharmacist’s negligence harmed them. A medical malpractice attorney can help prove your case and ensure the liable parties cover the cost of compensating you for injuries.

Types of Pharmacist Misconduct

Pharmacists are key in ensuring patient safety and well-being by accurately dispensing medications and providing essential guidance. However, instances of pharmacist misconduct can pose serious risks to patients. Here are specific scenarios where deviations from ethical and professional standards may occur.

Failure to Consider Patient History

Pharmacists are responsible for assessing a patient’s medical history before dispensing medications. Failure to consider this crucial information may result in adverse reactions or complications. For instance, administering a medication to a patient with known allergies without proper evaluation can lead to severe allergic reactions.

Dispensing the Wrong Medication

One of the gravest forms of misconduct is dispensing the incorrect medication. This error can occur due to misreading prescriptions or confusion between similar drug names. An example include:

  • Providing blood pressure medication instead of a pain reliever
  • Confusion of almost similarly named drugs, like Prozac and Prilosec
  • Confusion about the prescriptions for different people
  • Mislabeling of drugs

Failure to Run Medication Conflicts and Contra-indications

Pharmacists must be vigilant in identifying potential conflicts between prescribed medications and a patient’s existing drug regimen. Neglecting to assess such conflicts may result in harmful drug interactions. For instance, combining two medications with opposing effects without proper evaluation could lead to adverse health outcomes.

Wrong Directions

Providing inaccurate directions for medication usage is another form of misconduct. Pharmacists must ensure that patients are aware of how to take their medications correctly. Failure to do so may result in suboptimal treatment outcomes or exacerbation of health conditions.

Failure to Advise/Missing Instructions

A pharmacist’s responsibility extends beyond dispensing medications; they must also provide clear instructions to patients. Failing to advise patients on potential side effects, required precautions, or specific instructions for medication use can compromise the effectiveness of treatment and patient safety. For instance, a pharmacist is required to specify to the patient the activities they should not engage in while taking the medication, like driving or operating machinery.

Dispensing the Wrong Dosage

Incorrect dosage poses a significant risk to patients, potentially causing under-treatment or overdose. In fact, this type of error makes up 41% of fatal medication errors, according to FDA evaluations of several medication error reports.

Pharmacists are expected to calculate and dispense the prescribed dosage accurately. An example of this misconduct includes providing a higher dosage of pain medication, which ends up causing adverse effects and harm to the patient.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Help?

A medical malpractice attorney can help you achieve the following:

  • Providing informed guidance on various aspects of your case, such as the statute of limitations.
  • Conducting investigations into the events leading to the alleged malpractice.
  • Identifying the responsible parties in a pharmacist misconduct case.
  • Negotiating on your behalf with the opposing counsel or insurance companies so as to secure fair settlements.
  • Medical malpractice cases often require expert witnesses to give an opinion about the standard of care and whether it was breached. Attorneys have a huge network of medical experts who can strengthen the case through professional opinions.

Contact a New Jersey Pharmacist Misconduct Lawyer Today

Proving liability in medical malpractice cases, such as pharmacist misconduct, can be challenging. This is mainly because accusing a qualified medical professional requires significant evidence, a clear understanding of medical standards, and a professional handling of the medical malpractice lawsuit. A pharmacist misconduct attorney from Varcadipane & Pinnisi, PC can leverage their experience to ensure you get justice.

We will identify the nature of the misconduct that caused you an injury to ensure we present a compelling case. Contact us today to discuss your case for free. No fee until we win.

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