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Friday, August 04, 2017

Pharmacists May Be Legally Liable for Opioid Overdoses

As the US opioid epidemic continues to soar, physicians have been held criminally responsible for patients' overdose deaths. Now, it appears pharmacists may be next to be held legally liable.

That's the opinion of pharmacy law experts who have watched the crisis unfold during the past decade.

Keith Yoshizuka, PharmD, JD, assistant dean for administration at the Touro University College of Pharmacy, Vallejo, California, notes, for example, that in 2015, a California physician, Lisa Tseng, MD, was convicted of second-degree murder for the overdose deaths of three patients. She was later sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

"I don't think it's too large of a leap to expect a pharmacist to face criminal liability in the event that one or several of the patients overdose on medications that were filled by that pharmacy," Dr Yoshizuka told Medscape Medical News. "I can see the district attorney going after that pharmacy or the pharmacist for second-degree murder for, basically, recklessness — criminal negligence. But demonstrating that liability is still not clear-cut," he added.



Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Pharmacists cannot prescribe. Only fill and advise.

Anonymous said...

So, a person is in severe pain, their doctor prescribes medication that may actually work, the pharmacist dispenses the prescription as ordered and the patient misuses the drug resulting in their own demise.

Could the patient read? Did they get the standard printed list of cautions and side effects?

Why is anyone but the patient responsible?

Maybe the drug companies should be held liable. Without them, the drugs wouldn't exists.

Anonymous said...

This is just taking the matter " to far!"
Pharmacist are in no way responsible for
filling a prescription .

I can see prolonged use of opioids
being a danger . However, when people
are suffering from cancer, surgery or
what ever ---- give them what's needed
to get them through the pain.
After a while the Doctors are going to be
afraid to give the patient anything
at all for pain!

Anonymous said...

Actually Pharmacists do in fact "fill a prescription".
But they don't write the prescriptions - provide access to them.

But otherwise, I agree with the intention of your post.
Pharmacists cannot be held liable for doing their jobs.
Imagine a Pharmacists deciding to NOT fill someone's prescription?
There would be an outcry about the Pharmacist overstepping his or her authority.

Anonymous said...

That's like arresting the beer-truck delivery driver when a liquor store sells booze to someone underage.

Anonymous said...

everyone must be responsible except for poor fool who ODs

Anonymous said...

11:45 So glad you could reiterate that so eloquently for everyone.
10:58 I understood exactly what you were saying. As I'm sure thousands of others did.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you from experience that when a doctor writes a prescription that a pharmacy/pharmacist does not want to fill they will tell you just that. My doctor wrote a prescription for a liquid narcotic and when I took the prescription to the pharmacy the pharmacist said he would not fill it and did not even want that on his pharmacy. So yes, they do have a choice!

Anonymous said...

It's the 'not my fault' mentality that courts and all other bleeding hearts are buying into. If these people think the gov't should have better control then move to North Korea or like country where every aspect of your life is gov't controlled! It's not letting people be responsible for their own actions. Even if you dole out only a seven day supply at a time nothing is stopping them from taking them all at once!