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March 3rd, 2013

Can a Pennsylvania doctor be liable for prescribing medicine?

A: In Pennsylvania, doctors and pharmacists may be held liable for negligence in prescribing medicine. A patient may have a medical malpractice claim against their own doctor or pharmacist for injury sustained as a result of being prescribed or given the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, contraindications, etc.

In addition, Pennsylvania law allows for medical professional liability in cases where a patient who is prescribed medication causes injury to another party. In other words, the other party may have a claim against both the patient and his or her doctor.

For example, if a doctor prescribes medication to a patient under circumstances when it is reasonably foreseeable that the patient will drive a car while under the influence of the drugs and cause an accident, the person injured in the accident may be able to bring a negligence claim against the doctor. This exact scenario occurred in Kobayaski v. Estate of Holland, a 2012 Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas case in Westmoreland County. Read about the case here.

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