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Atlanta Prescription Error–Is it Pharmacy Malpractice?

Atlanta pharmacies are subject to regulation by the Georgia Board of Pharmacy. As an experienced Georgia injury lawyer, I have handled a number of prescription misfill cases that have resolved successfully. Today, I will break down the basics of a pharmacy malpractice case in Georgia so that anyone who is the victim of a prescription error will have a better understanding of the elements of these cases.

What is the basis for a Georgia Pharmacy Malpractice claim? Under the requirements of the Georgia Board of Pharmacy, a pharmacist must be trained as to the proper dosage of drugs, and has available to her the same texts and references as those utilized by doctors. These references clearly cover potential drug interactions, side effects and warnings for each drug.

What is the pharmacist’s duty? A pharmacist is responsible for inspecting and interpreting prescriptions and to consult with the prescriber (the doctor) if there is any doubt as to the prescription. Potential doubt includes not being certain about which medication is being prescribed, what the proper dose is, how often the drug should be taken or applied, and whether this particular patient should not be prescribed the medication due to an allergy or contraindication with another drug that the patient is currently taking. Any doubt should be resolved by the pharmacist communicating with the doctor to ascertain this information.

The pharmacist’s failure to comply with this duty to interpret the prescription leads to most prescription misfills and related malpractice claims against pharmacists and the drug stores for whom they work. In Atlanta, Georgia, most medicine prescriptions are filled by Walgreens, CVS, Target, RiteAid, Kroger, Costco, Walmart/Sam’s Club or Publix. Although quite a few more are filled at pharmacies located inside hospitals, labs and clinics, the majority of prescriptions these days are filled by these big box stores.

When a prescription is filled incorrectly due to misinterpretation of the prescription, the pharmacist generally is at fault because the pharmacist is the last link in the drug distribution channel. In other words, the pharmacist has the last chance to catch any error and the standard of care for pharmacists requires that any doubt regarding whether the correct drug has been prescribed or the correct amount to be prescribed is on the script must be cleared up by the pharmacist prior to dispensing the prescription. Almost every pharmacy malpractice case that I have handled as a Georgia injury lawyer could have been prevented if the pharmacist had simply taken the time to verify the prescription with the patient or double checking to make sure the drug being dispensed is appropriate to treat the patient’s condition or heeded the pharmacies warning system which alerts the pharmacist and pharmacy technicians of potential interactions and problems with a prescription before it is filled and dispensed. The failure to do this is the foundation of almost all malpractice suits against Atlanta area pharmacies.

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and prescription error lawsuits for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.