Liability claims – they are made to an insurance company when someone makes an error that results in a loss or damage to others. Although pharmacists take great care in their work, they are not immune to making mistakes, and these sometimes result in such liability claims.
Most Common Penalties
The most common errors resulting in such claims involve dispensing the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Dispensing the wrong drug accounted for more than one-third of all liability claims, while dispensing the wrong dose made up more than one-sixth.
According to an insurance company report, drug mix-ups occur primarily because many medications sound alike and look alike. More than 15 percent of such errors occurred because pharmacists failed to separate sound-alike drugs using methods such as color coding or tall lettering.
Other reasons for the dispensing errors include failure to check the drug with the label, which accounted for 10 percent of liability claims and not reviewing the prescription with the patient, which accounted for almost 2 percent of claims.
The largest, but most unusual, claims resulting from an overdose, with average amounts of more than $544,000. Other large claims resulted from missteps in compounding or preparation, with average amounts of more than $324,000, according to the insurance report. Still, other high-amount claims involved libel issues, averaging about $300,000, and not providing instructions, claims which averaged out to about $275,000.
Just about all of the claims – more than 96 percent – were made against pharmacists, as opposed to pharmacy technicians. A big reason for this is that technicians work under the direction of pharmacists, who are responsible for the technicians’ work.
The most expensive claims were filed by hospital pharmacies, averaging more than $273,000, over two times the general average. The least expensive claims were filed by homecare pharmacists, with amounts averaging just $5,000.
More than half of all claims came from community pharmacies, while nearly one-fifth of all claims came from compounding specialty pharmacies. Only a little more than 10 percent of claims came from national chain pharmacies.
The report analyzed more than 180 claims over a period of four years, amounting to a total payout of $25 million, with an average of more than $124,000 per claim.
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