One of the moments a pharmacist fears the most is making an error with a medication. This moment can be one of the easiest ways to put your pharmacist license in jeopardy.
Pharmacists play a crucial role in critical care, ensuring that patients receive the correct medications and doses. However, medication errors can occur, and when they do, they can have serious consequences for patients.
What is the Pharmacy Law When Medication Errors Occur?
When a pharmacist makes a medication error, the consequences can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the error and the patient’s health status. In some cases, a medication error can even be fatal.
Dispensing the wrong medication is a serious medication error that can have significant consequences for the patient.
It can result in adverse drug reactions, treatment delays, worsening of the patient’s condition, or even death.
What are Some Reasons for Medication Errors?
There are several reasons why a pharmacist might dispense the wrong medication. It could be due to a misreading of the prescription, confusion between similar-looking or sounding medications, or a failure to check the patient’s medication history.
The other common issue that falls into this category is dispensing expired medications. It is a duty of a pharmacist to ensure all medications being dispensed are within the expiration date.
With the amount of medication stored in each pharmacy it is very easy to have medication on the shelves that is past its expiration date. That makes it easy for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to accidentally dispense the medication.
If a pharmacist dispenses the wrong medication, or medication that is beyond its expiration date, they must take immediate steps to rectify the error.
What are the Proper Legal Procedures to Follow?
This is the scariest part for many pharmacists. Should you do nothing and hope no one finds out? Should you wait and see if someone brings the error up?
The honest answer is you must act as soon as you realize the error occurred. You have a duty to take immediate action to minimize the harm.
A pharmacist should contact the patient’s healthcare provider to inform them of the error and discuss appropriate steps for managing the patient’s condition.
They should also notify the patient of the error and provide them with prescriptions for the correct medication.
Depending on the situation the patient might need to be advised to seek immediate medical attention.
Should the Pharmacist Notify the Pharmacy Board?
The pharmacist should also report the medication error to their employer or pharmacy board, as required by law.
If a pharmacist is found to have made a medication error, they may face disciplinary action from their employer or from the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy.
What Discipline Could the Pharmacist Face?
This can include license suspension, revocation of their pharmacy license, or other penalties.
There is no guarantee that the Pharmacy Board will do anything about the situation. You might continue on in your pharmacist career and never hear another word about the situation.
However, these days it is much more common for someone to submit a complaint to the Pharmacy Board.
Once this happens the Pharmacy Board will do a small amount of initial investigative work and provide you notice of the complaint.
This could come in the form of a letter or something as simple as a phone call. Either way, the Board will want to discuss the situation with you.
It might not always be in your best interest to speak with the Board, or an investigator, directly.
Keep in mind that any statement you make can be used at a future hearing.
In general, pharmacists typically are held to a high standard of professionalism public safety and accountability, and any medication errors they make are taken seriously.
Can a Professional License Defense Attorney Help?
If you are in a predicament such as this, contact wh Law today. We have experience defending clients like you and protecting the career of a pharmacist.
You don’t have to navigate this situation yourself. We will stand with you and help you obtain the best outcome.