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Worcester Personal Injury Law Blog

Walgreens is under fire again for prescription errors

Walgreens, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States, brokered an $80 million settlement with the Drug Enforcement Agency back in June of last year. Apparently, several of the company's pharmacies were improperly filling prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, particularly opiods. The prescription errors resulted in one distribution center being suspended from providing these medications to some pharmacies along the east coast, possibly even some in Massachusetts.

Recently, the mother of a man who died because of an overdose of Vicodin filed a wrongful death claim against Walgreens in relation to her son's death. Back in April 2010, the man's doctor contacted Walgreens to tell them not to fill any prescriptions for Vicodin for the man because he had an abuse problem. Despite a note being placed on the man's computer file, the pharmacy continued to fill prescriptions for him until his death in July 2012.

According to the DEA, Walgreens promoted the sale by its employees of these dangerously addictive medications. Along with the Florida distribution center, several Florida Walgreens locations were banned from prescribing medications such as OxyContin and Vicodin until Sept. 2014. For other Walgreens pharmacies, new safety protocols put in place after the settlement have caused delays in patients receiving their medications.

If these safety protocols had been in place when the deceased man's doctor called in the order not to fill his prescriptions, he could possibly be alive today. Prescription errors made in good faith cause enough damage to patients who rely on pharmacists to get their prescriptions right. The alleged negligence and disregard for patient safety exhibited by Walgreens is arguably unconscionable. Massachusetts residents and their families who believe an improperly filled prescription caused them serious injury -- or death to a loved one -- reserve the right to pursue civil action seeking an award of monetary damages sustained as a result.

Source: guardianlv.com, "Walgreens Sued for Negligence in Vicodin Overdose Death", Beth Balen, March 25, 2014

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