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Misfilled prescriptions or prescription errors continue to occur at an alarming rate in Florida. And, sadly, they sometimes produce a devastating injury or death. The following news report shows the problem is not limited to our state.

Pharmacy error nets $8 million jury award

LANCASTER, S.C. – A jury has awarded a Lancaster woman nearly $8 million after she lost the use of her only kidney when a local drugstore gave her five times the amount of medication she was supposed to take.

Following a two-week trial in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, a judge on Dec. 8 ordered Rhode Island-based Eckerd Corporation to pay Tiffany Phillips $7.7 million for its role in the medicine mix-up.

Co-defendant CVS, also based in Rhode Island, reached a confidential settlement with Phillips for an undisclosed amount as the jury deliberated, said CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis.

In 2002, Tiffany Phillips, now 28, went to Eckerd in Lancaster to get a prescription for an anti-rejection drug for her kidney transplant…

Eckerd didn’t have enough of the steroid, prednisone, so a technician called a Lancaster CVS store to fill the prescription, according to the suit. But a miscommunication between the two stores resulted in Phillips being told to take 1250 milligrams a day of the drug for three days rather than 250 milligrams, the lawsuit said.

After taking too much of the steroid, Phillips is unable to use dialysis. Plus, she cannot have a third kidney transplant…

Eckerd, which has asked the judge to put the judgment aside, argued during the trial that Phillips was to blame for the problem.

“Any injuries or damages allegedly sustained by Plaintiff were due to and caused and occasioned by Plaintiff’s own negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and wantonness,” Eckerd wrote a court filing.

The Blame the Victim legal strategy of the pharmacy obviously did not work at trial. I think the jury had little trouble spotting where the gross negligence, recklessness and wantonness resided. My experience in the representation of patients who have taken the wrong drug or wrong dose of a proper drug due to a pharmacy error is that Blame the Victim must be in the official defense guidebook. Probably under the heading If You Have No Other Defense, Try This.

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