The cost to defend complaints against pharmacists to their State Board has increased more than 100 percent in the last decade, according to a newly released claim report published by Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), a division of Aon Affinity, the affinity business of Aon plc, and CNA.
The average defense payment for license defense matters is $7,650, a 43 percent increase compared to 2018 and a 107.6 percent increase compared to 2013, according to “The Pharmacist Professional Liability Exposure Claim Report: 3rd Edition.”
Over the six-year study period, $20 million has been paid for pharmacist malpractice claims.
An estimated 70 percent of license protection matters led to some type of Board action against a pharmacist’s license.
Highlighting the top professional exposures facing pharmacists, it includes professional liability claims and license protection matters, as well as case studies, analysis and insights.
“Pharmacists are crucial to our healthcare system. And over the past few years, we’ve seen their roles expand. However, this additional responsibility can translate into greater risk,” said Michael Loughran, president of Aon Affinity Healthcare. “Our goal is to identify loss patterns and trends to help pharmacists enhance their practice and minimize their professional liability exposures.”
Allegations related to professional conduct and medication management represented 70.4 percent of all license defense matters, according to the report’s analysis.
Malpractice claim costs are rising.
The average total incurred amount for a malpractice claim involving a pharmacist or pharmacy technician rose to $136,000 – an increase of nearly 3 percent since the 2018 dataset.
The wrong drug being dispensed was at the root of a majority of pharmacist professional liability claim. Death was the most common resulting injury, representing more than 12 percent of the claims.
Wrong dose/strength claims ranked second highest of all claims by allegation. According to the study, the category reflected a 46 percent increase in average total incurred from $49,901 to $72,972.
Claims associated with compounding pharmacies tended to be some of the most severe compared to other pharmacy types, with an average total incurred of $438,221.
“We are seeing several increases across some of the most challenging risks for pharmacists,” said Michael Scott, AVP Underwriting at CNA. “It is more important than ever for these professionals to have a risk management plan in place, which encompasses preventative measures as well as insurance coverages.”