The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled last week that patients who abused prescribed prescription drugs and medications can still sue the pharmacists and physicians they claim caused their addictions. This ruling will perhaps eventually end up before the US Supreme Court because it also brings into focus the topic of pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions based on the profiling of patients. Many pharmacies have been in the national media spotlight recently for refusing to fill legitimate prescriptions for patients based on their medication history or abuse potential. At the moment the ruling places pharmacists in a potentially tough situation – fill the prescriptions and face a future lawsuit for contributing to a person’s addiction, or refuse and get a lot of media attention (and perhaps be sued for discrimination)?
In the West Virginia ruling, the court decided that just because patients have engaged in any criminal acts, they still have the right to sue the doctors who prescribed them the medications and the pharmacists who filled the prescriptions. The court ruled that it would leave the decision to jurors to decide if the physicians and/or pharmacists engaged in negligent or wrongful conduct that contributed to the patient’s addiction.
The ruling stems from eight lawsuits filed by 29 patients of the Mountain Medical Center in Williamson, West Virginia who were prescribed controlled substances for pain management. They became addicted after abusing the prescription medications and claimed that the doctors were negligent in their prescribing and that the pharmacies were also negligent in their filling of the prescriptions.The eight lawsuits, which are ongoing in Mingo County Circuit Court are against Tug Valley Pharmacy, Strosnider Drug Store, B&K Pharmacies, the Mountain Medical Center and four of its physicians.
If you have questions about the ruling and how it could effect your pharmacy practice, call HCC today for a free consultation. Healthcare Consulting is a full service Pharmacy Consulting firm that has been in business for over 25 years. HCC has been helping pharmacies plan, prepare and deal with complicated issues such as West Virginia ruling since 1989. Just a few examples of our services include:
– Development of Policies and Procedures
– Employee Training
– Patient Consultation Documentation
– Pharmacy Management Consultation
Contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you.