GP Prescriptions and Claims Against Chemists

The management of prescription medicine can be challenging. A GP above all is aware that the responsibility for maintaining and establishing regular and appropriate medication use falls on them. It is not enough to simply say "take this pill" and then sit back and wait for improvements in health to show.  Medication must be regularly assessed, it must be questioned whether it is effective, whether an increase or decrease in dose is appropriate, whether the patient is still responding adequately to it and wither there is any real advantage  in continuing or stopping medication or even in changing to a more efficient medication?

If I take the wrong medicine is it my fault?

Generally this defence is not one that the pharmacological / medical profession falls back on regularly. Ultimately, these days, medication provided to the NHS by big pharmaceutical companies changes packaging and colour regularly. It is very difficult to identify medicines just by sight. Usually within a few years of even new medication being released, it has been copied and reproduced under licence by hundreds of factories around the world. So just because you used to get a small red pill doesn't mean that you should be automatically suspicious if you receive a small white one. 

It should be said though, that if the dosage is very noticeably different so if your pill changes from a 5 mg to a 500 mg one, then it could be reasonably said that perhaps that should have been noticed. That alone however, may not prevent you from making a claim, however, it may mean that you have been "contributory negligent" ie you contributed to the problem. The arguments here are complex and certainly not ones that are easily dismissed or tackled. Talk to us to find out more. 

What Sort of Injuries are Possible from taking the Wrong Medicine?

The results of a prescription error can range from a simple headache or dizzyness that passes after a few hours to life-changing after effects, it all depends and what has gone wrong, what medications you should have had and which ones you actually took. In many cases the effects are temporary and not serious however, he condition you are receiving treatment for will not improve and there is the possibility that you could suffer a severe and adverse reaction and require emergency intervention.

Chemist Negligence Claims

Any Chemist or Pharmacy has a duty of care to ensure you do not receive a drug which will harm your health. Pharmacists qualified professionals and they have well defined protocols to minimise any risk of incorrect dosing or wrongful dosing. It has to be recognised though that risk still exists and mistakes are still made. Regardless of wether the prescription is a private or NHS one, with 3 million prescription medications a day, it is almost inevitable that occasionally there will be a mishap. 

Can I claim Compensation?

If you have received a dose of incorrect medication from your pharmacist and it has caused you either a reaction or it has prevented your underlying condition to get worse, and it has happened within the last three years, then you may have legitimate grounds to claim compensation for pharmacy negligence. Each claim is different as each injury or incidence of suffering is different but the likelihood is that there is a viable compensation claim available. Talk to us today to get an indication of whether you can claim and how much the claim might be worth.  

How Much Compensation will I get?

How much compensation you will receive for your claim against a chemist is entirely determined by what sort of injury / how long the injury persisted that you have received and how intense the pain and suffering was;  so for instance a bout of dizzyness that lasted 6 weeks may be valued at an approximate range of £2000.00 to £3000.00 but if you were hosptalised and in receipt of intensive care during that time as the symptoms were so severe the amounts may be 5 or 10 times that. If you have permanent health problems as a result it may be 100 times that amount, again, depending on the seriousness of those symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to investigate the injury however, talk to us today and we can assess the situation in more detail. 

How Do I Avoid A Prescription Error 

Firstly, when you receive your medicine, always check that what you have received matches the name and dosage of that on your prescription. If you have multiple boxes of the same meds, then always check that it is the same medication throughout. If you have new medication and you are not sure what the right time to take them is, always ask the pharmacist to confirm, typically they will do this anyway but if they dont then it is your right to receive that information, dont be embarrassed to ask . It may be difficult to get to see your GP and your long term repeat prescription seems to work so why interrupt, however, you should have regular medication reviews and these should not be skipped.  Finally, if you are taking any other medication, let the pharmacist know and ask whether there are any concerns about the combination. Your doctor should also check at the time they write the prescription however, if you are concerned then ask.


In some cases the dangers of addiction to prescription medication are easily signposted. The medication itself normally indicates if there is a tendency towards dependence and even if not then a simple internet search can typically be undertaken to double check that the medicine is not being inadvertently delivered. In many cases the nature of the medication is well known and therefore a periodic review of the meds should be undertaken to ensure that they have not become part of the problem. 

How Long Will A Claim Take?

The usual answer for this question is that generally a compensation claim for medical negligence take between 18 and 24 months. This is a huge range and frankly a claim could take as little as 8 weeks or last as long as several years. Once your claim has been submitted, the other party has a protocol period of up to four months to investigate from and respond, before negotiations begin over the proportion of liability and the amount of compensation to be paid. Claims that have to go to court, either because the other party refuses to admit responsibility or because you can’t agree on a fair payment, take longer, as do claims involving complicated injuries where the extent of long-term damage is unclear or where multiple expert reports are required. 

Is there a Time Limit for Beginning a Claim

Again the usual answer to this question is that you generally should begin any claim that involves an injury within three years of the date your injury was linked to a incident of negligence. The reality though is much more complex and there are a number of factors that may mean you could not or would not have known about an injury or were not in a position to do anything about it. The only way to be sure if you have enough time to bring an action is to speak to a Solicitor who specialises in this type of claim. Call us today and we will get a panel member to speak to you completely free. 

CAn This Be Done No Win No Fee

No Win No Fee agreements make it possible for people  to get high quality legal representation without having to apy up front. Sometimes referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA), If you win you pay a success fee, which is an agreed percentage of your total compensation payment. By law, this can not be more than 25%, and it will be openly discussed at the start of your claim so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed.

All Solicitors approved by Law-Med are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and carry  full indemnification 

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Law-Med Solicitors

Blake House

Blake Street