Pharmacy can be sued for wrongful death

An appeals court has ruled the compounding pharmacy that filled the prescription is culpable

The estate of a man who died from a fatal dose of pain medication can sue the compounding pharmacy that filled the prescription, a US appeals court has ruled.

Court documents show Darryl Ray Sorenson, 55, was being treated for back pain resulting from a car accident, Drug Topics reports.

Sorenson’s regular doctor treated his back pain with hydromorphone that was administered through a pain pump in his spinal canal.

While on vacation to Florida in 2012, Sorenson was referred to a local doctor in Florida who tripled the dosage strength of his medication.

Professional Compounding Pharmacists of Western Pennsylvania compounded the hydromorphone and released it directly to the doctor in Florida, who then administered the drug.

Sorenson died the day of administration.

In an initial court hearing, the presiding judge dismissed the allegations against the pharmacy.

However, Florida’s second District Court of Appeal recently issued a ruling that reversed the first judge’s decision and reinstated the allegations against the pharmacy.

Despite being two steps removed from Sorenson, the compounding pharmacist still had a “duty to use due and proper care in filling a prescription that is intended for administration to that patient,” said Judge Morris Silberman, one of the judges who presided over the appeals process.

“We also note that this duty arises not from a duty to warn the patient; rather, it arises from the duty to not fill [an] unreasonable prescription without the appropriate inquiry,” Judge Silberman said.

One out of three total judges who presided over the legal case issued a dissenting opinion.

“Taken to its logical conclusion, the court’s decision will require a compounding pharmacy, upon receipt of a prescription for a new patient, to contact the prescriber to inquire about the patient’s history and course of treatment, even if the prescription appears regular on its face,” said Judge Edward LaRose.

“I know of no law or regulation that requires such a burdensome inquiry,” he said.

To read the full story on Drug Topics click here

Previous Flordis responds to CAMs poll
Next Pharmacists gender pay gap ‘high’

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.

1 Comment

  1. Gus

    And yet the 2 judges who approved the decision, said nothing about beefing up the right of pharmacists to change the dose on a script, even if the the doctor insists on that dose. Nothing about the pharmacist changing a script dose, without fear of being sued by the patient or disciplined by a pharmacy board. And certainly nothing about giving pharmacists the right to prescribe. After all, if pharmacists have no prescribing rights, and almost no rights in relation to the doctor regarding making changes to a script, then pharmacists have responsibility with no control. What kind of looney-tune situation is that, for a so-called profession of pharmacy to tolerate? And what kind of idiots are we for tolerating it all these years? I’m just waiting for the first court case, where a doctor insists on a huge dose after the pharmacist phones the doctor about a script, and then the doctor ‘forgets’ the conversation when the patient dies of an overdose.

Leave a reply