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Risks of Legal Entanglement: Cautions Cases & Counteractions

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Overview

Fortunately for pharmacists, we are not sued as often as other professionals, particularly as individuals. Pharmacists are considerably more likely to face board of pharmacy challenges and actions than malpractice lawsuits, according to a major insurer of pharmacists. Liability insurance for employed pharmacists costs well under $200 per year, reflecting the relatively low risk of lawsuits that pharmacists face. However, certain situations place pharmacists at a higher risk of being sued for malpractice and lead to serious patient harm – particularly in older patients and children. Such suits, even if the pharmacist is insured against malpractice, may lead to profound personal regret, reputational damage, and potential restriction, loss of license, or even criminal conviction.

The good news for pharmacists is that it is possible to learn from the misfortunes of others. Reviewing recent lawsuits against pharmacists reveals that there are known ways and resources to reduce your exposure to legal lament, and assure that you are providing the best possible patient care. In this issue, we will discover that the following are recurring themes in lawsuits against pharmacists:

• High-alert medications
• Long-acting opioids
• Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
• Unusual and off-label prescribing
• Excessive refills

Details

Publication Date: 06/28/2021
Expiration Date: 06/28/2024
CE Credit: 2.0 (0.20 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.

Authors

William E. Fassett, PhD,RPh, FAPhA, is Professor Emeritus of Pharmacy Law & Ethics, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Washington State University –Spokane. He is past-president of the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science and is Editorial Director for the American Society for Pharmacy Law.

Disclosure Statement

Dr. William E. Fassett reports no financial relationship with the manufacturer(s) or provider(s) of any commercial product(s) or service(s) that appear in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists .

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Discuss the situations in which pharmacists have expanded duties to patients, beyond accurate dispensing.
    2. Identify high-alert medication circumstances (including those involving long-acting opioids) that have led to significant lawsuits in recent years. Discuss strategies to prevent or mitigate hig h-alert medication situations.
    3. Describe examples of unusual or off-label uses for medications that may be particularly dangerous or error prone.
    4. Implement strategies from nationally available resources to reduce liability risk for medications or situations that are particularly dangerous or error prone in your practice.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

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Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-21-007-H03-P


Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 2.0 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Chief Editor and CE Administrator


Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Managing Editor


Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors


James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA

Consultant Pharmacist
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA

Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Detroit, MI

Senior Editorial Advisor


Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors


Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners


Emily K.
Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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