Pharmacies play an important part in the UK’s medical service. Pharmacists and technicians are often the last part of the chain in any treatment but their role is crucial. They are responsible for making sure that patients are given the medication they’ve been prescribed by doctors. While that happens in the majority of cases, there are times when negligence can cause things to go wrong.
Unfortunately, if a pharmacist is negligent it can cause patients to suffer. If that’s true, compensation could be sought. In this guide to pharmacy negligence claims, we shall look at what constitutes pharmacy negligence that could result in a claim, if you’re likely to be eligible to be compensated, and how the overall claims process for pharmacy negligence works.
If you think you have a pharmacy negligence claim but aren’t sure, call our advisors to discuss the merits of your case and what your chances of being compensated are. If they suspect your claim is strong enough, they could put you in touch with a medical negligence solicitor from our panel. So that the claims process is less risky for you, they’ll provide a No Win No Fee service if your claim is taken on.
To learn more about the process of making a compensation claim for a pharmacists negligence, please continue reading. Otherwise, please feel free to contact us on 0800 6524 881 if you’re ready to take action right away.
Table of contents
- What Constitutes Pharmacy Negligence?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Pharmacy Negligence Claim?
- Problems That Could Arise From Prescription Errors
- Evidence To Support A Claim Of Negligence Against A Pharmacist
- How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Pharmacy Negligence?
- Pharmacy Claims Time Limits
- Making A Pharmacy Claim With A Medical Negligence Solicitor
Pharmacists train for years before being allowed to practise. They must also be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Staff who work for the pharmacist must also be fully trained and supervised when handing out medication.
However, even with all that training, things can sometimes go wrong. If a mistake was made during the dispensing of your medication and you suffered as a result, you could be compensated for any harm caused. Examples of negligence that could result in compensation include:
- If you’re given the wrong drug.
- Where the right medication is dispensed but at the wrong dosage.
- If out of date medication was dispensed.
- Where you were given another patient’s prescription because safety checks were not made.
- If the wrong instructions on when to take the medication were given. This could be verbally or via a label attached to your prescription.
- Where you weren’t advised about any potential side effects.
- If you suffered an allergic reaction to medicine because your pharmacist failed to check if you have any allergies.
- Where the medication was stored incorrectly or you were not told how to store it at home.
- If a repeat prescription was issued without authorisation from the GP.
As we’ll explain in the next section, on their own, these mistakes won’t mean you’re automatically entitled to compensation. As well as there being some type of negligence, you’ll also need to show that it caused you to suffer. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
So, what criteria will a medical negligence solicitor check before advising you’re eligible to claim compensation? They’ll review whether there’s:
- A breach of duty (negligence): Where an avoidable error was made by a pharmacist or pharmaceutical technician; and
- Causation: That, as a direct result of the negligence, you were made ill or your underlying illness became worse.
More information on causation in medical negligence claims can be found here.
Again, negligence won’t always mean you’ll be eligible to claim compensation. The mistake must have caused you to suffer. For example, if you were given medication that was stronger than prescribed and you suffered adverse side effects, a pharmacy negligence claim might be possible. However, if you were given the wrong drug altogether but it didn’t cause you any problems, you probably wouldn’t have the grounds to claim, although we’d still advise you to speak with a claims advisor for clarification.
If a prescription error occurred, it could cause:
- No problems at all.
- Mild side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
- Allergic reactions (which can be life-threatening and potentially fatal).
- Longer-term problems caused by adverse drug reactions might lead to hospitalisation. These could potentially cause permanent damage to your internal organs.
Aside from suffering because of how you reacted to the wrong medication, you could also suffer because your underlying condition got worse. To remedy this, you may need to be prescribed strong medication or more aggressive treatment because of the delay caused by the prescription error. This is another type of suffering that could lead to pharmacy claims.
There are some checks you could make to try and make sure you’re using the right medication. They include:
- Check the label on the prescription has your personal details and nobody else’s. You should check each box if your prescription contains multiple items.
- Ask the pharmacist to confirm when the medication should be taken.
- Check that any medication dispensed matches the name and dosage listed on your prescription.
- Check with the pharmacist that your new medication won’t react with other prescribed medications.
To support your compensation claim against a pharmacist, you should aim to provide strong evidence of what’s happened to you and why pharmaceutical negligence is to blame. This could include:
- Product packaging. This could be used to prove that the wrong drug or dosage was dispensed. It could also show that the medication was damaged or out of date.
- A copy of your prescription. To show what your GP initially prescribed.
- Medical evidence. Medical notes from your doctor or a hospital could be used to show how you suffered as a result of the pharmacy error.
- Witness details. If somebody else was with you when you were given advice by a pharmacist, they might be asked by your solicitor for a statement of what they heard.
- CCTV footage. Some pharmacies use security cameras within their premises. If you think recordings will help to prove what went wrong, ask for a copy before the footage is deleted.
There is no doubt that proving medical negligence in pharmacy claims can be tricky. That’s why we’d suggest having a specialist solicitor on your side. To check whether one of our team of solicitors could take your case on, call our advisors today on 0800 6524 881. They’ll review any evidence you’ve gathered and let you know your options.
When calculating how much compensation a claimant should receive for a pharmacy’s negligence that led to additional suffering, your appointed solicitor will usually split the claim into two different types of damages. These are:
- General damages. Here you’ll be claiming for the pain, suffering and inconvenience (loss of amenity) resulting from the pharmaceutical error.
- Special damages. This part of the claim is based on any financial impact. For example, you could claim for any lost income, care costs or travel costs linked to your injuries.
Any compensation paid as general damages is based on the severity of your injuries. Therefore, you’ll likely need a medical assessment during the pharmacy negligence claims process. To make things a little easier, your solicitor will try to ensure you’re seen locally. During your appointment, a specialist will discuss the impact of your injuries and may examine you. After they’ve finished, they’ll prepare a report to explain your prognosis.
If your case is taken on, you’ll be given a more accurate compensation estimate once your medical reports have been received by your solicitor.
You must make your pharmacy claim within the allowable time limits. Failure to do so could mean you’ll miss out on any compensation you’re entitled to.
In most cases, you’ll have 3-years to start a pharmacy claim. This will either begin from:
- The date you were given the wrong medication (or advice); or
- When your injuries were diagnosed and linked or the pharmacy error.
There is a lot to do before a medical negligence claim is filed so we’d suggest starting sooner rather than later. By doing so, your solicitor will have enough time to collect evidence, book medical appointments, and complete other required tasks.
It can be quite tricky to prove what went wrong when making a pharmacy claim for negligence. It can be even harder to prove how ill a pharmaceutical mistake made you. Therefore, we’d suggest working with a solicitor who specialises in such cases.
If your claim is taken on by a solicitor from our team, they’ll try to ensure everything is considered before filing the claim and there is ample evidence to prove your allegations. They’ll handle all communication with the defendant so you won’t need to worry about any technical or complex questions.
In all cases, your solicitor will try to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible for your suffering. If you’d like to find out more about making a pharmacy negligence claim and how we can help, please call our team on 0800 6524 881 for a free consultation.
Last updated 22nd January 2022.