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Drug Errors in UK Cause Shocking Levels of Harm and Deaths

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The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has today acknowledged that drug errors in England cause appalling levels of harm and deaths. His comments come as new data suggests 237 million errors are made each year causing or contributing to more than 22,000 deaths each year.

Jeremy Hunt’s comments come after a BBC Panorama investigation last month revealed that dispensing errors made by Boots pharmacists may be linked to work pressures and understaffing.
The specialist Clinical Negligence Team at Pearson is regularly instructed by victims of drug errors. The mistakes include prescribing errors being made by GPs or hospital doctors, dispensing errors made by pharmacists, either in terms of dose or type of medication, and administration errors by nurses and carers who either give patients the incorrect medication, make dosage errors or fail to give drugs at the correct time. These are often attributable to human error and, whilst systems are in place to minimise the risk of occurrence, they point to patient safety being undermined by poor staffing, inadequate training and funding cutbacks.
Gemma Miller, Paralegal at Pearson, said "With a reported 1.15 billion drug prescriptions being made each year, it is perhaps unsurprising that drug errors occur. Thankfully, the majority of errors are identified quickly and do not cause any adverse effects on the patient. However, in some cases, the patient will suffer a period of avoidable pain, suffering and lost amenity and sustain additional losses such as lost income. In other cases, the patient will have a period of time off a medication that they have to take for an underlying medical condition which can undermine the management of that condition. Such harm is entirely preventable, so I would recommend anyone who has been the victim of a drug error to seek legal advice".
If you, or a member of your family, have been the victim of drug errors, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist Clinical Negligence Team who will be able to advise you on how you can claim compensation, on 0161 785 3500 or email

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 Gemma Miller


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