Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall

Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

Should pharmacists Be Held Liable For The Actions of Their Customers?

My first instinct was no.  But then I read this:

The lawsuit stems from a June 2004 accident in which then-35-year-old Patricia Copening swerved her car and hit and killed a 21-year-old and injured a 33-year-old. She later pleaded guilty to reckless driving, but police found prescription bottles and 167 loose hydrocodone pills in her car. Copening is also alleged to have bought nearly 4,500 doses of prescription painkillers in one year.

Source: Las Vegas Business Press :: News : Prescription for Disaster?

4,500 doses = a dozen pills a day.  If pharmacists have notice that their customers are filling prescriptions for a dozen oxycontins a day, maybe there should be some liability.  This also troubled me:

The plaintiffs' attorneys also argued the pharmacists had a responsibility to check the Prescription Controlled Substance Abuse Task Force's list to see if the customer's name was on it.

Wall [an attorney for a defendant] said he doesn't believe that either duty exists since they are not specified by state law.

"I don't think the (Nevada Supreme) Court should impose that duty on pharmacists," he said.

I don’t think it’s too onerous of a burden to force pharmacies to check to make sure that people filling prescriptions for controlled substances aren’t on a list of people who shouldn’t receive controlled substances. 

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