New York Health Care Lawyers Who Have Decades Of Combined Experience

Attoreneys Image

Can I lose my pharmacist license if AI makes a mistake?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Pharmacists And Pharmacies |

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in pharmacies is changing the role of the pharmacist. These advances can help in the academic, research, and clinical setting. AI can design lesson plans to help guide future pharmacists through their training, design trials to aid in research advances for new medications and help streamline workflow within clinical pharmacies.

But it can do even more. It has the capabilities to gather and deliver medications to patients. Those in favor of expanding the use of AI within pharmacies to include these practices argue that AI is more accurate when dispensing medication compared to pharmacists. This, the proponents argue, should reduce the risk of drug errors and ultimately increase patient safety.

In theory, this sounds like a win-win. The pharmacist can focus on the patient and let the machines deal with counting the medication. However, questions about responsibility when something goes wrong remain largely unanswered.

Are hospitals using pharmacy robots?

This advanced form of AI is already in use in pharmacies throughout the country. Some are using pharmacy robots to help fill and deliver medications. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center has used these robots for five years and reports they perform with 100% accuracy.

Pharmacies here in New York are also using this tech, with some using dispensing robots to help pharmacists count, dispense, and label medications.

What could go wrong?

Although current analysis shows a high level of accuracy when using these machines, such as the 100% figure noted above, there is concern about the danger that comes with an error. A mistake in the programming or glitch in the system could result in a medication error. Critics argue that this risk is not worth it and that use of these systems must be monitored by humans.

What if my license is at risk?

What happens if a machine dispenses the wrong medication? Is the pharmacist at risk? It is possible that such an incident could trigger an official investigation and put the pharmacist’s license at risk. In New York, complaints like this are generally funnelled through the Office of the Professions.

An investigation by the OP can have serious consequences. Repercussions can include reprimand and fines as well as the suspension or revocation of one’s professional license. As such, it is important to take an ongoing investigation or allegations of wrongdoing seriously. Thankfully, you have rights during the investigation and discipline process. Legal counsel can review the situation and discuss your options.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.

FindLaw Network