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Do Prescription Drug Dispensing Errors Cause 100,000 Deaths Per Year?

By June 14, 2018March 19th, 2021No Comments

We recently published a blog on one of the primary causes of death in the United States – medical errors. According to recent studies, medical errors kill an estimated 251,000 to 440,000 people in the U.S. each year. Medication errors are a type of medical error that can occur in an inpatient or outpatient setting. In the latter case, pharmacies may incorrectly dispense medications to their patients.

CBS News in Dallas Fort-Worth recently published a story on prescription drug errors that was picked up by other media outlets from across the country. The article, which cites studies published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, claims that prescription drug dispensing errors may be responsible for 100,000 deaths each year.

According to the article, the average pharmacy dispenses 300 prescriptions every day. An average of two to three of these prescriptions may contain medication errors that include:

  1. The wrong medication. Pharmacists may dispense the wrong medication for several reasons. For example, they may confuse medications that look alike or share similar names. Poor communication between other health providers could lead to this type of error.
  2. The wrong dosage. Patients may receive the wrong dosages from their pharmacies, which could lead to an overdose. However, patients may not receive adequate treatment for their health conditions if they do not receive the required dosages.
  3. The wrong formulation. Drugs may come in different formulations. There are liquid and tablet forms of many drugs. Patients may suffer harm if they receive the wrong formulation of a drug. Drug mixing errors may also occur, especially at compounding pharmacies.

These are only a handful of the different types of dispensing errors that could occur at your local pharmacy. Medication errors of any kind, whether in a hospital or pharmacy, could lead to death or life-altering injuries.

Filing a Lawsuit for a Medication Error

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to recover compensation if a medication error harmed you or a loved one. The Bay Area medical malpractice attorneys at Mitchell Leeds, LLP could help you determine whether this option is available for your situation. To reach our attorneys for a free initial consultation, call (415) 769-3400 or use our online case review form.