Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Failure to Supervise Pharmacy Technicians Can Be Medical Malpractice
July 3, 2012
By Debra A. Jensen, Esq.
When millions of people across this country receive a prescription from their doctor for a specific medication, it is expected and assumed that the order will be filled correctly. Unfortunately, mistakes by pharmacies and their employees happen all too often. Pharmacy or prescription errors are steadily on the rise and are now becoming one of the more common forms of medical malpractice.
Each year in this country, about 1.5 million Americans are sickened or killed by medication errors. When most people think of pharmaceutical medical malpractice, what comes to mind is the wrong medication or the wrong dose being administered by a pharmacist. While this is true, another form of medical negligence that is often overlooked is when pharmacists fail to supervise a pharmacy intern or technician, resulting in these types of mistakes. The pharmacy intern or technician may:
- fill a prescription with the wrong drug;
- mislabel the prescription dispenser with an incorrect patient name, drug name, dosage and/or directions;
- mix up two or medications and place them in the wrong dispensers;
- give the wrong prescription to a patient or patients; or
- give incorrect oral instructions or advice.
The end result is many individuals are injured, sickened, or even killed.
Failure to Supervise Pharmacy Staff Considered Medical Negligence
A licensed pharmacist has a legal obligation to supervise pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians. These interns and technicians have not received the same education that a pharmacist has, and therefore they need direct supervision by a state licensed pharmacist. “Supervision” means providing personal direction, overseeing the pharmaceutical services delivered and being responsible for those services.
In order to full their responsibility to supervise the pharmacy staff, pharmacists need to be present in the work areas at all times. Specifically, they are required to review all prescriptions before they are released to consumers. The pharmacist must verify a drug prior to being distributed by checking the name, dose, how it was prepared if applicable, the administration instructions, the quantity of pills dispensed, the number of refills allowed, and whether the label conveys all the correct information.
When a pharmacist fails to be present in a work area where an intern or technician is working or a pharmacist fails to confirm their work, the pharmacist can be considered negligent and guilty of failure to supervise staff. Even if a pharmacy technician or intern is the individual who made the medication error, a pharmacist can be held accountable as well due to their failure in providing the proper supervision.
How to Prevent Medication Errors
Many of the pharmaceutical or prescription errors that occur in our pharmacies are preventable. Pharmacists need to be more diligent in providing supervision to their subordinates. In addition, pharmacists must strictly adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the state of Pennsylvania on how they are legally responsible to perform their duties.
Consumers must be aware that these types of pharmaceutical errors occur and take the necessary precautions in protecting themselves from being a victim of a medication error. The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger encourage you to always clarify with your doctor what drug is being prescribed, the exact name of the medication, what the dose is, how to take it, and what its purpose is. Once your prescription is filled by your pharmacy, review the information on the label. Make sure your name is listed on the label as well as the correct medication, dose, and instructions.
Galfand Berger LLP – Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Medication errors by a pharmacist or pharmacy intern or technician can result in severe, lifelong, and devastating health consequences. The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger are committed to helping those individuals or families that have been affected by pharmacy negligence including the failure of a pharmacist to supervise the staff. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a pharmacy error resulting in an injury, illness, or wrongful death, our team of experienced and dedicated medical malpractice attorneys will advocate for your rights and for the full recovery of your medical treatment and expenses as well as lost wages, future earnings, and your pain and suffering.
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, we have successfully represented clients throughout Pennsylvania including Allentown and Harrisburg, as well as the South Jersey communities of Camden County, Burlington County, Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Haddonfield and Collingswood. Call the Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Galfand Berger today at 1–800-222-USWA (8792) to schedule a free and confidential consultation or submit a free online inquiry.