What should I do after receiving the wrong prescription medication from a pharmacy?
- Call your primary care physician, 911, or an ambulance if you are feeling ill
- Bring the medication, packaging, instructions, and other related paperwork with you to any doctor or hospital appointments. This is very important so that the treating physician can verify that you did in fact receive the wrong medication from your pharmacy
- Do not call or discuss the pharmacy medication error with any pharmacists or other employees of the pharmacy
- Retain all copies of prescriptions, all pills, all medication packaging, instructions, and other related paperwork.
- Take photos of all pills, medication packaging, instructions, and other related paperwork.
- Do NOT tell your doctor or the pharmacy anything that makes it sound like the error was partially your fault.
- Call or text me at: (866) 411-1938
What compensation am I entitled to in a pharmacy error case?/How much is my pharmacy error case worth?
When you are injured after receiving an incorrect medication from your pharmacy, you are entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills- You are entitled to compensation for all medical bills that resulted from medical treatment after being given the incorrect prescription medication by your pharmacy.
- Lost wages- You are entitled to compensation for all wages that were caused by being given the incorrect prescription medication by your pharmacy.
- Future medical expenses- You are entitled to compensation for all future medical expenses that results from being given the incorrect prescription medication by your pharmacy.
- Pain and suffering- You are entitled to compensation for all pain and suffering that results from being given the incorrect prescription medication by your pharmacy. Pain and suffering is not as black and white as the monetary losses caused by medical bills and lost wages. In a pharmacy error case, pain and suffering would be evaluated based upon the following factors
- How long did you take the incorrect medication for?
- What were the side effects that you suffered after taking the wrong prescription medication?
- Were the side effects that you suffered after taking the wrong prescription medication permanent?
- Will you require future medical treatment due to the pharmacy medication error? Future medical treatment equals future pain and suffering.
- What type of future medical treatment will you receive due to the medication error? If you require future surgery due to pharmacy medication error, this will be worth more than less invasive future medical procedures.
- Loss of consortium- The: 1. victim of a pharmacy medication error’s spouse 2. minor children, and 3. dependent adult children with disabilities have a right to their own separate claim for all the ways that their relationship with the injured person was affected. This is called a “loss of consortium” claim.
Will my pharmacy error case go to Court?
Most pharmacy error cases are settled prior to trial. In a typical pharmacy error case, I am able to negotiate a settlement pre-suit. Sometimes the pharmacy may be unresponsive or will make an unreasonably law offer. When this happens, I will sue the pharmacy on your behalf. Keep in mind, filing a lawsuit does not mean that you will have to go to trial. Most pharmacies increase their settlement offers when facing a lawsuit. Pharmacies hate bad publicity. The publicity of a pharmacy medication error case trial is damaging to the pharmacies reputation.
A preferred option to going to trial for your pharmacy error case is mediation. Mediation is a process where the Plaintiff (You) and the Defendant (Pharmacy) meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral person who assists in the negotiations of the case with regards to liability and pharmacy error compensation.
How long will it take to settle my pharmacy error case?
There are many different factors that affect how long it takes to settle your pharmacy error case.
These factors include:
1. How long will you be medically treating for the injuries from the prescription medication error?
Pain and suffering is an important factor in determining the value of your pharmacy error case. Generally speaking, the longer that you treat for, the more valuable your pharmacy error case will be. For this reason, I do not settle pharmacy error cases until you have completed all medical treatment. Your pharmacy medication error case value is also determined by the permanency of your injuries. If I settle your pharmacy error case before it is determined that your injury is permanent, I am unable to get you additional compensation. Finally, if you are still treating for your injuries, you will have future medical expenses. Once settlement is reached with the pharmacy, I can never go back and ask the pharmacy for additional compensation. For these reasons, I will never settle your pharmacy medication error case until you are fully done treating for your injuries.
2. How long will you be out of work for the injuries from the prescription medication error?
Lost wages is an important factor in determining the value of your pharmacy error case. Generally speaking, the longer that you are out of work for, the more valuable your pharmacy error case will be. For this reason, I do not settle pharmacy error cases until you have returned to work. Once settlement is reached with the pharmacy, I can never go back and ask the pharmacy for additional compensation. For these reasons, I will never settle your pharmacy medication error case until you have returned to work.
3. How responsive is the pharmacy to our settlement negotiations?
Not all pharmacies or their insurance companies return emails and phone calls. Some are almost impossible to contact. The responsiveness of the pharmacy or its insurance company directly affects how long your pharmacy medication error case will take to settle. When a pharmacy refuses to responds to my attempts to settle your case, I respond by filing a lawsuit (Complaint) on your behalf. This forces the pharmacy to respond to the Complaint within after service of process. Filing a lawsuit does not mean that you will have to go to Court. It is often a necessary step in getting your pharmacy error case settled quickly and for top dollar amount.
4. Is the pharmacy making a fair offer?
I will never settle your case for less than what it is worth! When the pharmacy refuses to make an offer, blames the victim (you!), or offers pennies on the dollar, I will advise you not to settle the case. At this point, I will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the pharmacy that gave you the wrong medication.
How much does a pharmacy error lawyer cost? https://www.jasonkanelaw.com/fee-win/
I do not charge any fee unless a successful settlement is reached with the pharmacy that injured you.
I also advance all expenses associated with your case, include: the costs of medical records, court costs, expert witnesses.
When your pharmacy error case settles, I receive 33% of the gross settlement proceeds plus reimbursement of expenses. This is the typical fee that pharmacy error lawyers charge. I have heard that some pharmacy error lawyers charge as much as 40%. I find this amount to be unfair.
Why should I hire Attorney Jason S. Kane? https://www.jasonkanelaw.com/why-choose-us/
- Over 22 years experience in handling prescription medication error cases
- You can call, text, or email, 24/7.
- I offer you a free (no obligation) consultation.
- You can easily complete all paperwork electronically.
- I do not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award.
- I return all phone calls, emails, and texts as soon as possible.
- I know all the different tricks the pharmacy and its insurance company adjustors will try to use to offer you less money than you deserve.
Can I settle my own case with the pharmacy that gave me the wrong prescription medication?
The answer is simple. The pharmacy’s goal is to offer you as little money as possible in order to settle your case. In many cases, the only path to fair compensation for your pharmacy malpractice case is by filing a lawsuit. Pharmacy error cases are very complicated and expensive. The pharmacies know that you do not have the knowledge to file suit or the financial ability to fight against them and their attorneys. For this reason, unrepresented victims of pharmacy errors are often taken advantage of in negotiations with the pharmacy. I have received many phone calls from consumers who had remorse after settling their pharmacy medication error case for either a small three or four figure sum, or even worse- a gift card. These individuals felt bullied by the pharmacy into signing a Release. Unfortunately, they were out of luck! They had signed away their rights to further compensation for the injuries from the pharmacy error.
What types of cases have I handled?
There are seemingly endless ways in which pharmacies are negligent in dispensing medication to its customers. Below are examples of some of the pharmacy medication errors that I have seen pharmacies make, along with real life examples from cases that I have handled.
- Correct medication/Incorrect dosage
Mary was 65 and had high blood pressure. Mary was prescribed 25 mg of a calcium blocker. Mary’s pharmacy incorrectly gave her 50 mg of the correct calcium blocker. As a result, Mary suffered heart palpitations, thought she was having a heart attack, and was rushed to a hospital due to the pharmacy medication dosage error.
- Customer given someone else’s medication
Tina was 30 years old and was prescribed anxiety medication. Tina’s pharmacy negligently dispensed birth control to her that was intended for a different woman with the same last name. As a result, Tina and her husband were unable to become pregnant during the three month period that she was taking the wrong medication.
- Incorrect medication Joe was 47 years old and was given an anxiety medication instead of his blood pressure mediation. Joe had previously been prescribed anxiety medication. Joe’s pharmacy failed to delete the prior prescription for anxiety medication. As a result, Joe suffered a non-fatal heart attack.
- Correct medication/incorrect instructions
Mike was 60 years old and suffering from COVID. Mike’s doctor prescribed him an antiviral medication which he was supposed to take twice a day. Mike’s pharmacy gave him the correct medication. However, the instructions on the packaging advised Mike to only take the medication once per day. As a result, Mike’s COVID symptoms worsened, and he was forced to suffer side effects for a longer period of time than if his pharmacy had given him the correct instructions.
- Failure to identify drug allergies
Ted was 65 years old. He was prescribed penicillin by his physician. Ted has a known allergy to penicillin that was well established in his medical and pharmacy records. Although Ted’s doctor was negligent in prescribing the medication to him, the pharmacy was also negligent in giving him the medication. As a result, I was able to obtain compensation from the pharmacy for dispensing him a medication that he had a known allergy to.
- Failure to counsel
Luis was 38 years old. Luis’ primary care physician negligently prescribed him a cancer medication instead of a similarly sounding anxiety medication. This was Luis’ first time taking this medication. Luis arrived at the pharmacy and was simply given the medication. The pharmacy failed to counsel Luis or ask if he had any questions. I was able to successfully negotiate a settlement on Luis’ behalf by arguing that the pharmacist’s failure to counsel was a substantial contributing factor which lead to Luis consuming the incorrect medication.
How long do I have to sue for a pharmacy error case?
As with any type of personal injury case, you have a limited time to bring a lawsuit for a pharmacy error. Generally speaking, the statute of limitations varies by state, and is typically two or three years. If you fail to bring a lawsuit for a pharmacy medication error within this time period, you will forever be barred from doing so. However, as with any rule there are exceptions.
1. When did you discover the pharmacy error?
If you received the wrong prescription medication from your pharmacy, you may be able to extended the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. Let’s say that your pharmacy dispensed the wrong prescription medication to you. You took the medication for 6 months, and then discovered the mistake. In this scenario it is possible to extended the statute of limitations by 6 months because you did not discover the error until that time period. This is widely referred to as: “the discovery rule.”
2. Were you a child when the pharmacy error occurred?
If you were injured as a minor after receiving the wrong prescription medication from a pharmacy, you may be able to toll (extend) the statute of limitations past your 18th birthday. This means that the statute of limitations does not start ticking until you turn 18.
Pharmacy Negligence Law
A pharmacy is liable for the negligence of its employees. This includes both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. In order to hold a pharmacy responsible for injuring you you need to prove:
1. Duty: Pharmacies have a legal duty to ensure they they dispense medication properly to their customers. This duty includes: filling the prescription according to the instructions given by the prescribing physician.
2. Breach: A pharmacy breaches its duty when it fails to properly fill a medication.
3. Injury: To receive compensation you must show that you suffered adverse side effects and were injured.
4. Causation: You must prove that any alleged injuries were caused by the medication error.
Confidential settlement agreements in pharmacy error cases
Like all corporations, pharmacies are most concerned with their reputation. Major pharmacy chains spend millions of dollars per year in advertising costs to perfect their infallible image. Can you imagine the damage that a public trial or a viral social media post about a pharmacy error could cause?
For this reason, most pharmacies demand that pharmacy error cases are settled with confidentiality agreements (aka Non-disclosure agreements, aka n/d/a’s).
- What is a confidentiality agreement?
When a final settlement amount is agreed to between you and the pharmacy that gave you the wrong medication, a formal agreement is drafted which sets out the duties and rights of all parties. In consideration of a sum of money, you agree to no longer have the ability to bring a future claim for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, etc. Additionally, you agree to be responsible for all outstanding medical liens which resulted from the medication error.
As part of the terms, there is usually a confidentiality agreement. The agreement states that you will not disclose the pharmacy medication mistake to anyone, including: friends, family, the new media, and will not post anything about the incident on social media.
- How do you benefit from a confidential pharmacy error settlement agreement (Release)?
You may be wondering why you would sign a confidentiality agreement as part of your settlement with a pharmacy? On its surface, the non disclosure agreement seems to be solely for the benefit of the pharmacy.
However, my experience is that as the Plaintiff you can exploit the pharmacy’s desire for confidentiality. It is a form of leverage that I can use when representing my clients to seek additional compensation.
- Are confidential pharmacy error settlements taxable?
Normally personally injury settlements are NOT taxable.
However, in Amos v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2003-329 (December 1, 2003), the U.S. Tax Court ruled that a confidentiality clause in a personal injury settlement could be taxable as ordinary income because it was essentially buying silence in addition to compensating the defendant for his injuries.
Health insurance liens pharmacy error cases
- Medicare Liens:
If you received medical treatment in after receiving an incorrect medication from a pharmacy, and you are receiving Medicare benefits, Medicare will have an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Medicare for all medical bills it paid related to your prescription error.
- Medicaid Liens:
If you received medical treatment after receiving an incorrect medication from a pharmacy, and you are receiving Medicaid benefits (State health insurance), Medicaid will have an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Medicaid for all medical bills it paid related to your prescription error.
- Tricare Liens: If you received medical treatment after receiving an incorrect medication from a pharmacy, and you are employed by the U.S. military, you likely have Tricare as your health insurance. Tricare is a governmental healthcare program and has an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Tricare for all medical bills it paid related to your prescription error.
Deaths from pharmacy errors
It is unknown how many Americans die per year as a result of pharmacy medication errors. This is for several reasons.
1. Many deaths occur and are presumed to be of natural causes. I would presume that most medication error deaths are never discovered. Many victims of prescription error cases have multiple co-morbities. For example, a 70 year old with heart disease may receive the wrong prescription medication from his pharmacy. The incorrect prescription causes a fatal heart attack. Everyone presumes that his pre-existing heart disease resulted in death. Therefore, no one does the due diligence to discover that the true cause of death was the pharmacy’s mistake.
2. Pharmacy medication error cases typically are settled with confidentiality agreements with the estate of the decedent. For this reason, the public will never know that the death was caused by a pharmacy error.
Compounding pharmacy errors
What is a compounding pharmacy?
A compounding pharmacy is a specialty pharmacy that tailors medications to the specific needs of its customers. The custom formulation of prescriptions is extremely complex and can easily lead to errors. Even worse, many customers of compound pharmacies have serious preexisting health problems, and are especially vulnerable to these mistakes. A simple decimal point error by a compound pharmacy can have serious health consequences.
Common Types of injuries Resulting from Prescription Medication Errors
- Allergic reaction
- Heart Attack
- Passing out
- Heart Palpitations
I graduated Providence College in 1997, have an MBA from Suffolk University, and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. I am licensed to practice law in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. I have been practicing law since 2002 and work tirelessly representing victims of pharmacy errors. I have recovered millions of dollars for victims of pharmacy negligence. I look forward to representing you and your family!
Jason S. Kane, Esq.
(866) 411-1938 (Call 24/7)