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New Jersey Pharmaceutical Negligence Lawyers

Experienced representation for NJ clients injured by prescription errors

The New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at the law firm of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP are a team of leading trial attorneys with a strong record of recovering significant money damages for people harmed by prescription drug errors. If you sustained an injury or illness because of pharmaceutical negligence, we offer aggressive representation on your behalf.

What is a medication error?

The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) defines a medication error this way: "A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use."

Medication mistakes are easy for consumers who have several different medical conditions for which they are taking different medications. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 82 percent of American adults take at least one medication and 29 percent take five or more. With all these medicines to keep track of, it is easy to see why consumers might make medication errors, but why do trained medical professionals make so many medication errors that can cause serious injury or death to a patient? According to NCCMERP, more than 1.3 million people are injured each year due to prescription and pharmacy errors.

Distinguishing between medication errors and adverse drug events

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines a medication error as an error of commission or omission at any step in the pathway between prescribing and the patient receiving the medication. An adverse drug event (ADE) is defined as harm experienced by a patient as a result of exposure to a medication. An adverse drug event does not indicate negligence or even that an error occurred. Medication errors are preventable.

Examples of medication errors that can lead to injury

According to the Food and Drug administration, the most common prescription error is administering the wrong dose of a medicine, which accounts for 41 percent of deaths due to medication mistakes. Older patients are at greatest risk for medication errors.

A medical journal article about the alarming reality of medication error opened with this: “A 71-year-old female accidentally received thiothixene (Navane), an antipsychotic, instead of her anti-hypertensive medication amlodipine (Norvasc) for 3 months. She sustained physical and psychological harm including ambulatory dysfunction, tremors, mood swings, and personality changes. Despite the many opportunities for intervention, multiple health care providers overlooked her symptoms.” (The Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives)

The following are other examples of how medication errors can occur:

  • Wrong drug administered
  • Improper dosing
  • Wrong instructions
  • Adverse drug interaction
  • Unknown allergy
  • Illegible prescription

Every day, doctors and nurses make mistakes when it comes to prescribing and administering medication. These mistakes can cause injury or harm and even death. If you have been injured because of a medication error, or if you have lost a loved one because of a fatal medication error, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow is ready to represent you.

What causes most medication errors?

There are countless factors that could lead to a medication error including:

  • Miscommunication between doctors, or between doctor and nursing staff
  • Miscommunication between you and your doctor
  • Misunderstood medical abbreviations
  • Failure to account for medical history
  • Medications with similar sounding names being confused for another drug

How is the FDA addressing medication errors in the U.S. healthcare system?

The FDA would like to eliminate medication errors in the U.S. healthcare system. The Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis (DMEPA) within the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) is responsible for monitoring and preventing medication errors related to the naming, labeling, packaging, and design for CDER-regulated drugs and therapeutic biological products. DMEPA encourages healthcare providers, patient consumers, and manufacturers to report medication errors to FDA including times when similar-looking containers, or confusing prescribing information caused or lead to a medication error. The FDA can take regulatory actions such as revising the labeling or issuing a safety communication. If the name of a drug can be confused with another drug name, the FDA can require the manufacturer to change it.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global initiative to reduce severe, avoidable medication-associated harm worldwide by 50 percent over the next five years through the Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety. This safety challenge examines ways to improve the way medicines are prescribed, distributed and consumed, and it aims to increase awareness about the risks of medication errors.

Is there a time limit for me to file a medical negligence claim in NJ?

The statute of limitations, which is the legal time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim, is two years from the date of the injury. The clock does not begin running until the injury is detected or when it should have been detected under reasonable circumstances. In the case of death from medical malpractice, the legal claim must be filed within two years of the date of death.

If you have been injured because of a medication error, it is vital that you contact an experienced NJ medical negligence lawyer right away so that we can develop a strong case for recovering the compensation you deserve.

Our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers work with leading independent medical specialists to investigate and prepare the strongest case possible for full recovery of compensation for your prescription drug injury. We are recognized among the leading medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey, with a case record of successful settlements and verdicts exceeding $750 million on behalf of plaintiffs.

Related information on prescription and pharmaceutical errors

Increasing Urgency of Benzodiazepine Epidemic

NJ injury lawyers protecting victims of medication errors

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP offers a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. Call us at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer. We maintain offices in Edison, Toms River, and Red Bank, and represent clients throughout the state.