Magazine article Drug Topics

Are Pharmacists Asking for More Liability?

Magazine article Drug Topics

Are Pharmacists Asking for More Liability?

Article excerpt

Recognized professionalism equals increased liability. That's the equation posited by two defense attorneys, who suggest that pharmacists may regret forcing open legal floodgates that already are beginning to spring leaks.

For the most part, courts have held that pharmacists have no duty to warn patients or physicians about the possible risks involved in the drugs being dispensed, observed William J. Cremer and Thomas R. Pender with the Chicago law firm Tressler, Soderstrom, Maloney & Priess. Their views appeared in the June issue of For the Defense, the monthly journal of the Defense Research Institute, an association of civil litigation defense attorneys.

In the article, Cremer and Pender noted that several pharmacy associations have argued in recent court filings that pharmacists should be viewed as professionals under the law and the "no duty to warn" standard is inconsistent with state and federal legislation on patient counseling. At the same time they are seeking greater professional recognition, pharmacists do not want courts to "open the floodgates of litigation against" them, the lawyers observed.

They questioned whether pharmacists "can effectively provide warnings and potential drug interactions for a given medication without regard for the patient's condition, history, allergies, or other current medications the patient may be taking. …

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