Compensation Claims for Being Given the Wrong Medicine

Is it possible to make compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine and, if so, who do I make them against, my doctor or the pharmacist?

Answer:

Inasmuch as the condition you were originally prescribed medicine for may not have improved because you were given the wrong medicine, there has to have been a significant injury or a deterioration of your existing condition before you can make compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine.

Doctors and pharmacists have a duty of care to prescribe and dispense the correct medication, but their negligence alone in providing you with the wrong medicine is not sufficient reason to make a claim for being given the wrong medicine – especially if you continued to take the medicine when it was making you ill.

If you have experienced a “negative event” due to the negligence of a doctor or pharmacist, an investigation into how you were given the wrong medicine would establish which of the two were responsible for your injury and against whom a claim for being given the wrong medicine should be made.

You will need a solicitor to pursue compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine as a claim of this nature is considered to be a case of medical negligence by the Injuries Board Ireland and not one they will assess for damages. Therefore, you should speak with a solicitor as soon as possible about arranging the investigation into who is liable for you injuries – as the original prescription will have to be traced out of the many thousands issued each day.

Once it is established that your doctor or pharmacist is responsible for your injury, your solicitor will send a Letter of Claim to the negligent party informing them that you are claiming compensation for being given the wrong medicine and providing details of the evidence that has been accumulated against him or her.

If you solicitor has compiled a sufficiently strong claim for being given the wrong medicine, it is likely that an offer of settlement will be forthcoming and your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for being given the wrong medicine you are entitled to receive.

If no admission of liability is forthcoming, or it cannot be agreed how much compensation for being given the wrong medicine you should receive, your claim for being given the wrong medicine will have to be resolved in court. Inasmuch as a court hearing is an unlikely scenario, one other factor may affect your eligibility to make compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine – your contributory negligence.

You will be considered to have contributed to your illness or the deterioration of your existing condition if it can shown that any “reasonable” person would have noticed that the medication they had been given was wrong, but they continued to take it. The most obvious example of contributory negligence in compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine is if you requested a repeat prescription of tablets from your doctor and were dispensed tablets of a different colour or size from those you take normally. Your contributory negligence may not disqualify you from making compensation claims for being given the wrong medicine, but it will affect how much compensation you are entitled to.

It is recommended that you speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to establish that you have a claim for being given the wrong medicine which is worth your while to pursue and, if so, to initiate an investigation into who was responsible for giving you the wrong medicine.