Pharmacists Duty of Care in Florida

The responsibilities of a pharmacist are being better defined in courts across the country, particularly in Florida. A recent court decision bolstered the fact that a pharmacist is more than an order taker, he or she has a duty to understand the patient and the drugs being prescribed by a physician.

On Feb. 6, the Florida Court of Appeal, 5th District, concluded that the pharmacy could be held liable for failing to inquire into why the patient’s doctor had been repeatedly prescribing drugs before the preceding prescriptions had been depleted.

The ruling stated, in part, “…a pharmacist’s duty to use due and proper care in filling a prescription extends beyond simply following the prescribing physician’s direction.”

Today’s pharmacies are high-volume businesses with pharmacists and pharmacy techs working to fill thousands of medication orders every day, so it’s not surprising to find that mistakes are made. The pharmacy involved in the case pertaining to this ruling happened to be an independent store, so it is possible for errors to occur in dispensaries large and small.

Some of the most common errors include:
• Dispensing the incorrect drug.
• Incorrect dose, dosage form, or quantity.
• Inappropriate, incorrect, or inadequate labeling.
• Confusing or inadequate directions for use.
• Inappropriate preparation, packaging.
• Improper storage of medication prior to dispensing.

Pharmacists are included in Florida Statute 766, which states, in part:
The term “health care providers” means physicians licensed under chapter 458, osteopathic physicians licensed under chapter 459, podiatric physicians licensed under chapter 461, optometrists licensed under chapter 463, dentists licensed under chapter 466, chiropractic physicians licensed under chapter 460, pharmacists licensed under chapter 465, or hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers licensed under chapter 395.

There are provisions for victims of pharmacy mistakes to be compensated, and this particular area of law is quite complex. If you or anyone you know believes they have been the victim of an error by a pharmacist or pharmacy it would be prudent to contact an experienced attorney who can listen to your story and investigate circumstances of your situation.

The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has earned an excellent reputation over many years for representing victims of pharmacy errors and obtaining reasonable and proper compensation for their damages, pain, and injuries. A call to their office in Fort Lauderdale at 954-356-0666 will put you in contact with Mr. Gary Lazarus or his law partner Ms. Arleen Lazarus.