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Who is liable for medication errors?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Medication Errors

Medication errors can happen in any healthcare setting and often involve multiple parties. When a mistake occurs, patients may seek accountability.

Understanding the potential liability is the first step.

Healthcare providers

Healthcare providers include physicians, nurses and pharmacists. They are liable for negligent acts such as incorrectly prescribing or administering medications that cause patient harm.

Recent studies show medication errors lead to as many as 9,000 patient deaths each year in the U.S. alone. Providers must review drug profiles and ensure the right patient receives the appropriate medication. Failing to double-check or clarify unclear prescriptions can make them culpable.

Hospitals & healthcare facilities

Hospitals and clinics also owe patients a duty of care to prevent errors. They can share liability for not having sufficient safety protocols and supervision over staff. Medical facilities may also fail to address systemic issues that could reduce mistakes. Having unclear policies or expectations around medication administration can make them accountable.

Pharmaceutical companies

Pharmaceutical manufacturers can also bear responsibility. They may face lawsuits for defective drug design or inadequate warning labels. For example, unclear labeling can lead to mistakes around dosages and administration. Companies must provide clinically validated instructions to mitigate confusion and liability risk.

Patients expect and deserve diligent care from all parties involved in their treatment. When errors happen due to negligence and cause harm, those accountable should take responsibility. Continued analysis of medical mistakes can inform better systems and processes to protect patients. Thorough safety protocols and enhanced communication between healthcare providers, institutions and pharmaceutical companies can help reduce medication errors.