Mortgage protection is like every other kind of insurance—you hope you never have to use it because it regularly means something has gone oppositely.
For pharmacologists, when something goes incorrectly, chances are it’s giving a sufferer the altered dose of banned medicine—but mistakes in the pharmacy go far beyond that.
That’s according to the 2nd edition of the Pharmacist Liability Claim Report from healthcare support organizations CNA and HPSO. The report analyzes claims over different years, from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2016, that appeared in at least a $1 fee. Treatments were covered regardless of when they were filed but must have joined during that period.
Overall, the article looks at 184 settled claims. This is related to the first edition of the story, published in 2013, that tracked claims over ten years from January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2011. In that 2013 report, just 162 requests were closed—despite a research period twice that of the second edition.
The entire amount caught in the 2nd edition is $25 million, with an average claim of $124,407, associated with a total of $18 million and an average of $101,269 in the 1st—an improvement of 22.8%.
Cracking Down the Figures
So, where do all of these requirements come from? The vast preponderance of applications is against druggists (96.2%), compared to just 3.8% against pharmacy professionals. According to the report, this is likely because professionals operate under the supervision of pharmacologists, and “consequently, the lower hardness of medicine technician claims is comparable with the scope of their licensure.”
The statement also breaks down where those druggists worked and the average requirements in each of those settings: the most critical claims came from hospital drugstores, with a typical application of $273,338 (more than twice the overall average of applications). The most reasonable standard comes from pharmacists and technicians working in homecare environments, with an average payout of just $5,063.
The most common pharmacy types for claims were, perhaps unsurprisingly, from independent or individually-owned pharmacies (55.4%), compounding specialty pharmacies (17.9%), and national/regional chain pharmacies (12.0%).
The most expensive claim—though also the most infrequently reported—was a failure to identify overdosing with an average expense of $544,600. Other applications with higher-than-average payments include compounding calculation and preparation errors ($324,819), libel/slander ($300,000), and failure to provide instructions ($275,092), to name a few.
Pharmacy Mistakes and Why They Happen
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the report, however, is the most common claims. By far, the most common complaints were the result of the wrong drug (36.8%) and the wrong dose (15.3%).
According to the report, a significant reason for this is the problem of sound-alike and look-alike drugs . Failure to separate sound-alike drugs using methods like color separation and tall man lettering accounts for 15.1% of wrong drug dispensing errors. In one claim, a pharmacist administered minoxidil instead of methotrexate, resulting in the patient’s congestive heart failure and permanent partial disability.
Other risk factors include failure to check drugs against the label and actual prescription (9.8%) and the inability to review orders with the patient (1.7%).