It is estimated that as many as 7,000 people become the victims of a fatal medication error each year. The risk of medication errors is not limited just to prescription drugs. A dosage mistake or other fatal error can just as easily happen with an over-the-counter medication purchased at a New Mexico supermarket as it can from a medication picked up at a local pharmacy.
The federal government is attempting to reduce medication errors by formulating guidelines for drug names, drug packaging and containers, and even the size and shape of the medications themselves. The purpose of the guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is to make it easier for health care professionals to identify a dangerous combination of prescriptions by being able to recognize the active ingredients in each one. The guidelines are also trying to make it easier for patients to identify medications by their shape and size in order to avoid a dosage mistake.
Prescription medication errors can be the result of a dosage mistake by a negligent physician writing the prescription, or they can be caused by a negligent pharmacist whose failure to read doctor’s handwriting properly results in someone administering an incorrect drug. While the guidelines might lessen the risk of those types of errors, they do not appear to touch upon medication mistakes caused by a physician not checking for allergies before prescribing a drug for a patient.
An individual who is injured by a pharmaceutical error or by life-threatening drug interactions might be entitled to compensation from the negligent physician or negligent pharmacist who was responsible for the mistake. Someone with questions and concerns about being the victim of prescription medication errors might obtain answers and information from a medical malpractice attorney.