Pharmacy negligence, also known as pharmacy malpractice, is the act of dispensing the incorrect medications or dosage of medication or of failing to provide necessary warnings or counseling about medication, and it is a serious crime in Ohio. Indeed, when pharmacy negligence leads to the worst of outcomes, Ohio pharmacists may even face jail time for their failure to spot dangerous errors, and in less grievous cases, pharmacists may lose their licenses and be barred from the profession. There are several features to pharmacy negligence or malpractice in Ohio law, but it all comes down to the simple fact that human error is an unacceptable excuse when it comes to pharmacy negligence.
The Duties of the Pharmacist
In Ohio, pharmacy negligence is rooted in particular failures of the pharmacist in relationship to the expectations set around his or her behavior and relationship to the consumer or patient. The duties of the pharmacist are based on a relationship of trust and knowledge and essentially consist of the duty of the pharmacist to dispense the appropriate medication and dosage to the patient, to provide any pertinent and known warnings about the medication being provided, and generally to ensure the safety of the patient vis-à-vis the medication.
In Ohio, there are two important bodies to think about when attempting to determine the responsibilities of the pharmacist and establish whether or not he or she acted negligently. First, there is the General Assembly. The General Assembly makes laws that establish certain responsibilities of the pharmacist as due to the patient. If one of the duties is not fulfilled, then the pharmacist is inherently guilty of negligence. If the affected patient then brings a legal case, negligence is pre-established, though liability is not. The other important body is the Board of Pharmacy. The Board of Pharmacy does not make laws about the role of the pharmacist, though it does make some administrative rules. Administrative rules do not establish negligence per se, but they can be used as a kind of evidence in establishing negligence in a legal case.
Examples of Pharmacy Negligence
Pharmacy negligence in Ohio can take a number of forms. One common form of pharmacy negligence is dispensing the incorrect medication, rather than the one indicated by the prescription. Similarly, a pharmacist might dispense the incorrect dosage of the correct medication. These two mistakes are among two of the most common forms of pharmacy negligence or pharmacy malpractice, especially dispensation of the wrong drug, as that can cause significant physical harm to the patient.
Another form of pharmacy negligence is failure to dispense important information about the medication at hand. The labels that come on many medications, such as those indicating that they may cause drowsiness, should not be taken during pregnancy, and other such warnings, are part of preventing pharmacy negligence. Not warning a patient of such prohibitions and side effects can result in dangerous situations.
Finally, one form of pharmacy negligence is the dispensation of a medication that the patient is allergic to or that has serious interactions with another medication. Pharmacies typically cross-reference a patient’s file when filling a medication to prevent these types of interactions. This kind of negligence is often the most dangerous kind and the type in which liability is most often found due to the level of damages caused.
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