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The prevalence rate and common causes of prescription errors

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose |

Prescription errors are a common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits and are just as dangerous, if not more so, than physical harms. New York and other states allow victims of medication errors to pursue compensation against the liable party via a medical malpractice claim. However, to do so and to prevail in such a case, plaintiffs must prove that the doctor, pharmacist, nurse or another party was negligent in his or her dealings with the medication and that said negligence is what lead to the prescription error.

According to findings published in the US National Library of Medicine, medication error and error-related adverse drug events are responsible for considerable patient harm and often lead to hospitalization, morbidity, increased health care costs and even death. Though the numbers remain uncertain, researchers estimate that approximately five to six percent of all hospitalizations nationwide are drug-related. Some studies suggest that ADEs cause roughly 10 percent of all hospital admissions. Adults who are on several medications and children are at especially high risk of an ADE. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prescription drug mishaps can occur anywhere along the distribution system. For instance, they can occur during the prescribing, dispensing, repackaging, administering, or monitoring of the drug. Causes of prescription errors often stem from lack of communication, inadequate procedures or techniques, ambiguities in directions for use, product names, writing or medical abbreviations and patient misuse. Job stress and lack of training or product knowledge are also thought to play a role in ADEs.