Walgreens, Doctor Sued Over Overdose Death Of Lover
An Alabama doctor is being sued after having his medical license permanently revoked, according to a recent lawsuit. The mother of the victim has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor who provided the 21-year-old victim with opioids that eventually caused an overdose. The woman was not a patient of the doctor, so this is not a medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff has also listed Walgreens as a co defendant in the case. Walgreens is accused of filling fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances.
Without getting into Alabama State laws, this seems like a case that should have gone to trial for murder. In many states, a drug dealer can be charged with the murder of one of their customers. Florida has such a law.
In this case, the doctor wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the young woman to make it appear as though they had a legitimate doctor-patient relationship. The plaintiffs claim that the sexual relationship began when the defendant was still married. The doctor, who was an oncologist, attempted to hide the fraudulent prescriptions by claiming they were for legitimate oncology purposes.
The mother claims that the doctor used the opioids to addict and oppress his daughter, and make her an unwilling slave. She believes this eventually led to her death via an overdose.
The doctor may be liable for the death, but since this is not a medical malpractice case, there is no insurance policy against which to sue. The money would have to be extracted directly from the doctor’s estate which may be worthwhile depending on how rich he is.
The case against Walgreens is trickier, but potentially more lucrative. The plaintiffs will need to allege that they violated the law when dispensing the opioids by not responding to open and obvious red flags. In these cases, the pharmacist may have a duty to report or deny the prescription. If any red flags were unheeded, then Walgreens can be held liable for this death.
In the case of the pharmacy, the lawsuit would be a professional malpractice case. While the doctor and his lover did not have a doctor-patient relationship, the pharmacist and the patient did. The pharmacy has a duty of care when it comes to opioid-based medications. If that duty of care was not met, then the pharmacy is liable as well.
Who will win?
The government applies the standard when it comes to pharmacy malpractice. The pharmacy would have a duty of care to ensure that suspicious prescriptions are investigated. If the plaintiffs can establish that a red flag was present and not acted on, then the pharmacy will be held liable. They won’t be able to defend the case on its merits. At that point, it’s a matter of how much.
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