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I’ve been given the wrong medication – what are my rights?


When we think of healthcare, we think of hospitals and clinics – but actually, pharmacies are a key part of our health service too.

Whether over-the-counter medication or prescription drugs, we rely on both our pharmacist and our GP to make sure we get the right medicine.

So if things go wrong and you’re given the wrong medication, what protection does the law give you?

Prescription mistakes: your legal rights

If the medication you’ve been given or advised to take causes you additional health problems, you may be entitled to claim compensation for pharmaceutical negligence.

Essentially there are two ways that pharmacy or prescription negligence claims can happen. One is for the doctor who prescribes your medication to make a mistake, for example by not looking at your medical records properly and realising that you’re allergic to penicillin.

The other way is for the pharmacist themselves to make a serious error – for example, by weighing out the wrong dose of a correctly prescribed medication.

Pharmacists do have some responsibility to act as ‘gatekeepers’ too, by catching obvious errors in a doctor’s prescription note or clarifying unclear instructions. It’s unlikely (although not impossible) for legal action to be taken against a pharmacist in this scenario though – the original error lies with the doctor after all.

So, in a nutshell, it’s possible to claim compensation if your doctor or pharmacist makes a mistake while prescribing or preparing your medication.

Some examples of pharmaceutical compensation claims include:

  • Giving you the wrong medication
  • Prescribing medicine that interacts badly with other medication that you take
  • Giving you the wrong dose (too much or too little)
  • Prescribing a drug which you’re allergic to or affects an existing health condition

This list isn’t exhaustive, however, so if you think that a prescription mistake by your pharmacist or GP has made your health worse, you should get in touch with a solicitor for an expert legal opinion.

I’ve been given the wrong medication, what can I do?

If you believe that you’ve suffered an injury as a result of clinical or medical negligence, complete our online enquiry form or call our specialist solicitors on 0117 905 9763 for advice on how to make a claim for medical negligence.

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