Massachusetts residents go to their doctors for a number of reasons. They may be sick and in need of treatment or they may just want a physical to make sure their health is on track. If you go to the doctor and end up coming out with a prescription for a medication, you want to trust that your medical provider and pharmacist are going to do right by you. Unfortunately, prescription mistakes happen all too often.

What are some of the most common prescription mistakes? Can they be avoided? If I suffer an injury due such a mistake, can I seek compensation?

Common mistakes

Four prescription mistakes are the most common. These are as follows:

  • Filling errors
  • Storing errors
  • Failing to follow directions
  • Failing to keep track of all of one’s medications

When you go to pick up your prescription, you want to trust that the pharmacist or pharmacy technician did their job right and gave you what your doctor ordered and in the right amount. Unfortunately, one in 20 prescriptions that aren’t filled accurately. Sometimes the issue involves the dispensing of the wrong medicine and sometimes the issue is with the dosage.

Upon receiving your prescription, learning how to take it, how to store it and understanding how it will react with any other medication you are taking are vitally important. If your physician failed to give you this information, the pharmacist should. If pharmacy staff fails in providing such details, they should have at least included instructions with the medication.

Avoiding these mistakes

While it would be nice to blindly trust one’s physician and pharmacist, people really do need to look out for themselves. Double check the prescription before leaving the pharmacy, ask questions and take the medicine as prescribed. These are the only ways to avoid prescription error.

Seeking compensation

If you are prescribed a medicine you do not really need, given the wrong medicine at the pharmacy counter or not told how to take or store the drug properly and you suffer an injury because of it, you may have legal recourse. If appropriate, filing civil claims against the responsible party or parties is a possibility.

Pursing legal claims for prescription mistakes may not be easy. It all depends on the details of your case. If filing legal action is appropriate, in the end it may be resolved through out-of-court negotiations or litigation.