Does Pharmacy Insurance Cover Adverse Reactions People Have To OTC Drugs?

Caeva O'Callaghan | December 13th, 2021


Over the counter drugs such as aspirin and paracetamol can cause negative reactions in some people, but is this covered by your pharmacy insurance?

Yes. The claim would go against the manufacturer and distributor of the medicine first, so your professional indemnity policy would be the last to be challenged for compensation in this case.

Many people have adverse reactions to normal drugs, and if they aren’t aware of their condition the side effects can be serious.

In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:

It is illegal to operate a pharmacy without professional indemnity insurance, so make sure you have cover in place before you open.

What is a pharmacy professional indemnity policy?

If you accidently dispense the wrong medication or the wrong dose, your professional indemnity policy will take over the defense of the case as well as any compensation awarded to your customer.

If you have a standard pharmacy insurance policy, it will not cover professional indemnity as standard. In fact, most retail policies specifically exclude dispensing risk. Having a separate professional indemnity policy plugs up this gap and makes sure you’re operating safely.

On the other hand, products cover will protect you against claims made by somebody who is injured, made ill, or has their property damaged by a product that is sold by your pharmacy.

When someone is hurt and claims against the products section of your policy, those claims may be referred back to the manufacturer – but having this kind of insurance means all that is taken care of, as well as all the associated legal costs.

If the manufacturer cannot be traced – for example, if the product was manufactured outside the European Union, this means that your pharmacy would be liable. If you have repackaged or rebranded the product, or stored the product incorrectly, then you are covered under this section of the policy.

Does pharmacy insurance cover legal expenses?

Yes, as long as this cover is in place. Cover under the products section as well as professional indemnity section of your policy includes your defence costs as well as compensation for the injured party.

A pharmacist who is providing advice owes a duty of care to their customers. The standard of duty of care is the provision of “reasonable skill and care”. If a pharmacist falls below this standard and causes a loss, they may be viewed as being negligent.

It’s possible to purchase extra legal expenses cover, which will protect you for legal costs as a result of an action brought against you by an individual or institution which is not covered by your professional indemnity insurance. An example would be an unfair dismissal claim or appeal against a suspension by a statutory body. This could be considered a ‘business’ as opposed to professional risk.

What should I do if an employee of mine gives bad advice?

The best cure is always prevention. Make sure you stay up to date on current regulations, and ensure staff are properly trained on what they can dispense and what they cannot.

An unqualified sales assistant dispensing unsound medical advice is a very serious problem. In a worst case scenario, it may even lead to loss of life. If someone makes a claim against your pharmacy accusing you and your employees of this misconduct, you could lose your business and face serious legal repercussions.

When purchasing medicines from pharmacies, patients expect to be provided with high quality, relevant information in a manner they can easily understand. When an OTC medicine is supplied, you must always provide sufficient advice to ensure the safe and effective use of the medicine.

For example, in a 2008 report by Which? a number of pharmacies were surveyed to ensure they were operating within guidelines. But the survey uncovered a particular problem with sales of the migraine drug Imigran Recovery, which used to be available only on prescription but had recently switched to OTC. It should only be sold after the customer has answered a number of questions, but in 40% of cases, sales assistants did not alert the pharmacist and one in five sold it without asking a single question.

If you have any questions regarding your pharmacy insurance give our experts a call today and they will go through all the relevant options.

Arrange Callback

OUR PHARMACY INSURANCE SPECIALISTS

RACHEL DIXON

CATHRIONA FAULKNER

CAROLINE MCARDLE

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.