Walgreens Medication Error Verdict of $33M Upheld on Appeal

A $33.3 million verdict awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit against Walgreens pharmacy over a medication error has been upheld on appeal by a Florida court. 

The pharmacy malpractice lawsuit was filed by the family of Beth Hippely, who died in January 2007. According to a report in The Ledger, Hippely’s family sued Walgreens, alleging that a teenaged pharmacy technician accidentally gave her a blood thinner dosage that was ten times more powerful than she had been prescribed.

The drug, Warfarin, had been prescribed to Hippely since 2002 as part of her breast cancer treatment. The pharmacy error caused her to suffer a cerebral hemorrhage and paralysis before her death.

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A Florida jury ruled in the family’s favor at trial for the wrongful death lawsuit in August 2007, awarding the $33.3 million, but Walgreen’s appealed the verdict. Last month, the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Lakeland, Florida affirmed the lower court’s decision and upheld the verdict and the award.

According to a 2006 report by the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine, there are about 1.5 million medication errors every year which result in injuries. These mistakes are largely preventable and could be caused by a doctor prescribing the medication incorrectly, the pharmacy filling the wrong dosage or by nurses dispensing a different patient’s drugs.


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