The Costs of Medication Errors

Medication errors injure at least 1.5 million Americans annually, costing the United States more than $3.5 billion a year, according to a government report released in July 2006.

According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, in hospitals alone, statistics translate into an average of one medication error per patient per day. Medication errors occur at almost every phase of care, including in administration and at the patient’s own hand. Existing studies suggest that 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, another 800,000 in long-term care settings, and about 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics.

Common medication errors include:

  • Doctors writing prescriptions that could interact dangerously with other drugs a patient is taking;
  • Nurses putting the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage, in an intravenous drip
  • Pharmacists incorrectly dispensing the prescribed medication; and
  • Name confusion, i.e., the sound-alike names for the antiepileptic drug Lamictal and the antifungal drug Lamisil

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as a result of medication errors, please contact The Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry for a free consultation. Our attorneys have experience dealing with cases involving medication errors, and we have doctors on staff to review your case.


The Washington Post
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services