What Is Pharmaceutical Negligence?

Pharmaceutical negligence occurs when a patient suffers injury or death as a consequence of taking a drug that was incorrectly prescribed. For example, situations in which the prescribed dosage was inaccurate or the drug led to adverse reactions with other medications taken by the patient could be considered pharmaceutical negligence.

Although doctors and pharmacists are usually extremely careful about prescribing and dispensing medication, pharmaceutical negligence takes place surprisingly often and affects a large percentage of patients every day. However, this type of negligence can also occur at the stage of manufacturing or packaging the drug. For example, when the drug is labeled incorrectly or if the drug has been kept in inadequate conditions.


How To File a Pharmaceutical Negligence Claim?

If you, or someone you know, have suffered an injury resulting from pharmaceutical negligence, there are several potential parties that may be held liable. Doctors, distributors, and manufacturers have the common responsibility of ensuring that the drugs delivered to patients will not cause harm or death.

Every negligence case requires proof in the following areas:

  1. Duty,
  2. Breach of that duty,  
  3. Causation of injury,
  4. Damages.

Therefore, to prove if a pharmaceutical company was negligent, one must show that a professional, such as a pharmacist or doctor, owes a duty of care to the patient and that has been breached. For instance, a pharmacist’s duty is to fill out prescriptions properly, as well as to review the medications and guide the patient. If the prescription has been filled incorrectly, it is clear that a breach of duty has occurred.

Then, the causation of injury must be clearly proven. For example, if a patient suffering from low blood pressure is mistakenly given a prescription for high blood pressure, and as the result of this error the patient’s disease worsens, the causation of injury can be established.

Lastly, damages will be evaluated by the court after collecting all relevant information, such as any reports and medical records. Then, the court will decide on monetary compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries. The compensation will be awarded to cover the costs associated with medical expenses and/or lost wages.

Keep in mind that you should not wait to file a claim. According to the tort laws in Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a compensation claim for a personal injury claim, such as pharmaceutical negligence, is two years.

Determining who is at fault and should be held liable in a pharmaceutical negligence claim can be confusing since many professionals are involved in the process that ultimately leads to the patient taking the prescribed medication. Errors can occur at different stages of that process -- a doctor could calculate the dosage incorrectly, a pharmacist could fill out the wrong prescription, and the manufacturer could store the drugs in inadequate conditions. In some cases, however, both a physician and pharmacist might share the liability for any injuries resulting from pharmaceutical negligence.


If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, or company vehicle, call DeSouza Law today at (210) 910-HURT or (361) 799-2222.