Lawsuit Filed by Man Alleging Pharmacy Error Caused Blindness


June 26, 2014

When people go to the local pharmacy to get a prescription filled, there is a natural tendency to presume that the medication provided is identical with what is indicated on the packaging and labeling. However, sometimes pharmacist make mistakes that can have devastating consequences. For example, if you are allergic to penicillin but given the drug in error, the mistake could be fatal. Tragically, these sorts of serious errors by pharmacists are not just theoretical. A USA Today story discussing a lawsuit filed against CVS for a prescription error that allegedly caused a man to go blind in his left eye provides a recent example.

Claudis Alston was diagnosed in 2012 with pink eye (conjunctivitis) and given a prescription for cortisporin ophthalmic suspension according to media reports, which is a common medicine used to treat the condition. He went to the local CVS pharmacy to get the prescription filled. The original packaging and instruction indicate the medication actually was neomycin-polymyxin-HC, which is a medication for bacterial ear infections. The instructions provided indicated that the customer should "INSTILL 3 DROPS IN EACH EYE TWICE DAILY FOR 5 DAYS."

When Mr. Alston put the drops in his eye, he immediately experienced intense pain, necessitating a trip back to the emergency room. Doctors determined that he suffered blindness in his left eye. According to the news report, medical journals and pharmaceutical websites indicate that the ear drops should never be used on a person's eyes. Mr. Alston's attorney says that he has tried to get a response regarding the statement from the CVS headquarters for over two months, but he has not had any success.

CVS has had other recent incidents involving mistakes in dispensing prescription drugs. The chain pharmacy paid $650,000 to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs in 2013 to resolve incidents involving the drugstore commingling various pills that were indicated for radically different medical conditions. For example, the pharmacy was found to have dispensed Tamoxifen, a breast cancer medication, along with chewable fluoride for children. While the pills look similar in terms of size, shape and color, the pills are imprinted with different codes. The Tamoxifen dispensing error was found to have occurred on fifteen different occasions.

The commingling drug settlement also involved other instances where drugs with very different effects were provided to customers, including the following:

• A high blood pressure medicine (Metroprolol) was commingled with a schizophrenia drug (Risperidone).
• A diabetes drug (Metformin) was dispensed with a medication for high cholesterol (Pravastatin).
• The right drug was dispensed, but 20 milligram pills were mixed with 80 milligrams of a blood pressure drug (Coreg).

While this is not a complete list of the commingled drug incidents in the N.J. case, these examples demonstrate the importance of always checking your prescription rather than simply relying on the pharmacy.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

If you or someone close to you has suffered harm because of a pharmacy error, our Georgia personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Sources:

Man Claims CVS Mistake Cost Him His Sight. USA Today. June 20, 2014.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/20/cvs-prescription-mistake-man-blindness/11035635/

CVS Will Pay $650,000 to Resolve Prescription Medication Errors in N.J. February 25, 2013
http://www.nj.com/independentpress/index.ssf/2013/02/cvs_nj_division_of_consumer_af.html


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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.