Financial & Legal News

Compensation for Dispensing Error

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A high street pharmacy gave the wrong medication to our client on two separate occasions resulting in £5K settlement.  Being dispensed a drug for lowering blood pressure instead of depression and medication for reducing excess stomach acid on the second occasion.

Pharmacy dispensing error

Our client suffers with depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD).  She is prescribed a specific regime of medications which are carefully managed in order to maintain her mental health.

On 19 April 2018, Asda Pharmacy, located in the Wembley store, incorrectly dispensed Enalopril (a drug for lowering blood pressure) instead of the prescribed Escitalopram, which is used for treating depression.   Our client, unaware that the error had taken place, began taking the tablets handed to her by the pharmacist at Asda Pharmacy.  Within one day of taking the tablets our client became ill with the following symptoms:

  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • hypotension
  • nausea
  • palpitations
  • vertigo

Pharmacy error spotted by GP

The dispensing error only became apparent 12 days later when she visited her GP for advice on how to take her medications and the GP pharmacist spotted that she had been dispensed the wrong drug by the pharmacy at Asda Stores Ltd. 

Following the discovery of dispensing error, our client switched pharmacies to an online provider and a written complaint was made to Asda Stores Ltd.  Subsequent to an internal investigation being carried out Asda Stores Ltd admitted their error and confirmed that measures would be put in place to prevent such an error from occurring again.

Several months later, our client was planning to spend Christmas abroad. The online pharmacy were unable to deliver her medications in time for her holiday so she made arrangements to collect her prescription from Asda pharmacy before travelling.

Whilst abroad our client suffered an unexpected decline in relation to her mental health and the holiday was ruined when she was forced to cut it short.

It was only when our client returned home that she discovered, once again, that the Asda Pharmacy had made further dispensing errors. Instead of dispensing the prescribed Escitalopram, the pharmacist had dispensed Esomeprazole, which is a drug used to reduce excess stomach acid.  

Experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors negotiate settlement

Following negotiations with Asda Stores Ltd, they admitted liability for the two dispensing errors and made an award of damages in the sum of £5,000.

Lois Goddard of Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers says, “One dispensing error is unfortunate, but for this to happen twice to the same person within a matter of months is totally unacceptable.  Pharmacists have a duty of care to ensure that each patient receives the correct medication prescribed by their GP and failure to do so can be considered a breach of that duty of care.  When a patient suffers avoidable symptoms as a result of either their prescribed medications being abruptly stopped, or side effects of having taken an unnecessary drug (or a combination of both), this should be the subject of redress.  Any patient who has concerns that a dispensing error has occurred should seek immediate medical and legal advice.  

If you have experienced something similar and would like advice please contact our Medical Negligence Team for advice by emailing enquiries@Pearsonlegal.co.uk call on 0161 785 3503 or complete an online enquiry form.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Lois Goddard

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