Drug Interactions

Pharmacology Expert Witness
Articles
Drug Interactions

Drug Interactions

Prescribed medicines are a better excuse than substances of misuse in that the latter admission carries its own liability in law.

Expert Witness Pharmacology

Background

Some cases I see are where a person is claiming an adverse effect of interactions between prescribed drug as a reason for their behaviour. It can be seen as a better excuse than substance abuse which carries its own liability in law.

Also a successful claim resting on an adverse drug reaction might even in the future warrant a financial claim against some element of the NHS following the trial.

Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy is a term used to describe the prescribing of several medicines for single individuals, sometimes wholly necessary, but sometimes not so – because busy prescribers can occasionally overlook duplications of therapeutic effect, or drug interactions.

In today’s NHS there are safeguards:

  • Doctors are trained to be aware of interactions of the drugs they prescribe.
  • New “patient medication record” software in the surgery will alert the doctor to any drug interactions.
  • Pharmacists are trained to spot drug interactions along with departures from usual dosages.

Occasionally however, the medicine supply chain breaks down, and I am asked to provide an inside-opinion regarding either the prescriber’s or the pharmacist’s culpability or negligence, together with an assessment of the long term pathological damage done by the error.

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