Dispensing includes the preparation and giving of medication (requested by way of a prescription) to patients, taking steps to ensure that the medication being provided is suitable for the intended use, and taking steps to ensure its proper use.

Dispensing requires the professional and clinical review of a Responsible Pharmacist who is appointed as the Pharmacy owner and who is ultimately in charge of performing all clinical checks in relation to the prescriptions dispensed at their pharmacy.

What is a dispensing or prescription error and why do these errors occur?

Unfortunately dispensing and prescription errors can happen for a number of different reasons.

A dispensing error is when there is an inconsistency between a prescription, and the medication received by a patient. Common reasons for dispensing errors include when different medications sound- alike, when patient’s names look-alike, and when a pharmacy is busy or short-staffed leading to administrative and human errors.

A prescription error is when the medication or dosage is unsuitable for the individual patient which may lead to inappropriate use of the medication prescribed and cause the patient harm. Prescription errors can be made by anyone who is qualified to prescribe medication, such as your GP, dentist or hospital doctor.

Common prescription errors include:

  • Prescribing an inappropriate dosage and/or frequency of a particular medication
  • Missed and/or delayed medication
  • Prescribing a medication that is contraindicated
  • Not undertaking the necessary reviews when taking a particular medication (such as regular blood testing)
  • Not considering drug allergies
  • Not considering how one medication may interact with an existing medication.

Dispensing and prescription errors can cause temporary and sometimes permanent consequences, from itching and rashes, to those that may be life-threatening.

How do I know if I have a claim?

For a legal claim to succeed it is not enough to only establish that incorrect or inappropriate medication has been dispensed or prescribed. A patient must also suffer an adverse reaction to the incorrect or inappropriate medication, which would have otherwise not occurred.

If you have concerns about the medical care you have received and want to have a chat to see if we can help you, please contact a member of the Clinical Negligence Team on 0113 284 5000 or alternatively email clinneg@isonharrison.co.uk.

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