Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 12, 2019

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Most people who have prescriptions filled do so with hope, hope that the medication they receive will cure their ailments. Unfortunately, prescription errors are causing an increasing amount of injuries and death among U.S. consumers.

Nearly 4 million prescription errors every year

According to a study done by Auburn University, prescription errors that cause serious injuries occur in one and 1,000 cases. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering that nearly 3.7 billion prescriptions are filled in the United States every year, it is a lots, nearly four million prescription errors. So, why is this happening?

Reasons for errors

Industry analysts say that prescription errors occur for a variety of reasons, such as untrained technicians that are used by large pharmacies, pharmacists being overworked and just plain carelessness. The problem has gotten so bad that members of Congress have stepped in. Congressional Representative Steven LaTourette (R-OH) has introduced a bill that would require pharmacy technicians to undergo mandatory training, education and set regulatory standards for the industry. His bill is called “Emily’s Act” and is named after a two year old Ohio child that died due to a prescription error. Her story is heartbreaking.

Emily

According to a recent USA Today article, Emily Jerry was born with a large tumor in her abdomen and had been undergoing chemotherapy. The therapy worked, she was cancer free and was set to go home. That’s until a pharmacy technician gave her a lethal dose of saline solution’ 26 times greater than normal’ from which the child died. Emily was only two years old.

Is this a new issue?

The issue of prescription errors isn’t new at all. However, it’s an issue that has received greater attention in the past year due to celebrities like Dennis Quaid whose newborn twins were given an overdose of heparin, studies from the Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA) which show that a much higher percentage of children experience adverse drug reactions while hospitalized than previously known (an astonishing 11%) and an increasing number of lawsuits filed every year against pharmacies. However, pharmacies often settle these lawsuits confidentially which makes it impossible to understand the true depth of the issue.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a prescription error, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free of charge, without obligation and strictly confidential.