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

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