Someone who does not feel well books an appointment with a doctor. During the exam, a doctor diagnoses the patient and prescribes him some medication. The patient takes a doctor’s prescription to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist verifies the patient’s condition and medical history and fills the correct prescription. The patient returns home and takes the medicine for the prescribed time period, and the medication helps the patient recover.
That is how it is supposed to go, but what if, instead, the pharmacy commits a serious mistake and injures the patient? When this happens, multiple parties may be liable for the injury.
Duties of the Pharmacy
Doctors are tasked with understanding medications and prescribing the proper type and dose. A pharmacy is tasked with dispensing medicine according to the prescription. Medicine in correct quantities can be healing, but that same medicine in larger quantities can be harmful. If the pharmacy provides the patient with an incorrect dosage that harms a patient, the pharmacy can be liable for negligence. Alabama tort law imposes a duty of care on the pharmacy that it must act under a reasonable standard of care. Dispensing incorrect dosages to patients is a breach of that duty of care. Similarly, the pharmacy had a duty of care to only purchase and obtain drugs that are safe. If the pharmacy’s supplier is not following regulatory standards and the pharmacy knowingly or negligently disregards this issue, then the pharmacy breached its duty of care. In such a situation, the pharmacy can be liable for negligently dispensing deficient drugs.
Liability may be relevant even if the pharmacy follows doctor’s orders. A pharmacist’s duty is to analyze a patient’s reactions to medication even though the doctor prescribed the medication. The pharmacy has a duty not to dispense medication if it believes the patient will have a bad reaction, regardless of the doctor’s prescription. A pharmacist is responsible for evaluating the prescription as well as all other medications the patient is prescribed and determining whether it is safe. If the medications interact negatively, the pharmacist is obligated not to dispense the prescribed medicine. Thus, if the pharmacist negligently disregards patient risk by dispensing medicine and, as a result, the patient suffers injury, the patient is a victim of pharmacy malpractice.
The Law of Agency
If you suffered a pharmacy-related injury, the law of agency may allow you to collect from different parties. The pharmacy can be liable for the pharmacist’s negligence because the pharmacist acts as an agent for the pharmacy. The same is applicable for the pharmacy technician or anyone else involved in dispensing the medicine. The law of agency imputes liability from an individual to an entity, which can be from the pharmacist to the pharmacy. By the same token, if the pharmacy’s delivery man is negligent by leaving the medicine in the hot sun, for example, and that results in tainted medicine, then the pharmacy would be responsible for negligence, as well.
If you are the victim of pharmacy malpractice, contact the law firm of Parkman White, Alabama plaintiff attorneys.