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Appeals court reverses summary judgment for pharmacist, CVS

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The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a pharmacist working in a Hendricks County CVS had a duty of care to a customer to either warn her of the side effects of a drug or withhold the medication. As a result, the judges reversed summary judgment in favor of the drug store and pharmacist in a negligence suit.

Christine Kolozsvari had a prescription filled for OsmoPrep to prepare her for an upcoming colonoscopy. She had the prescription filled at the CVS where she filled all her other prescriptions, including Lisinopril, an ACE inhibitor that treats hypertension.

When filling the OsmoPrep prescription, pharmacist Kelley Branchfield disregarded a warning on the computer screen that OsmoPrep posed a risk of renal failure because of Kolozsvari’s age. A document provided to pharmacists also says that using OsmoPrep may interact with Lisinopril and cause kidney damage.

When the drug didn’t work as scheduled, Kolozsvari’s doctor called in another prescription for the pill. Again, Branchfield ignored a computer-generate notification, this time that the prescription exceeded the amount considered safe in such a short period of time and could increase risk of renal failure.

After taking the pills both times, Kolozsvari had tingling sensations in her arms that increased after taking the second pill. She went to the hospital and was diagnosed with kidney failure. She now must undergo dialysis for the rest of her life or receive a kidney transplant.

She and her husband sued her doctor, doctor’s nurse, CVS, and Branchfield for negligence and loss of consortium. The trial court granted summary judgment for CVS and the pharmacist.

In Christine and Ivan Kolozsvari v. John Doe, M.D., Jane Doe, R.N., Kelley Branchfield, R.Ph., and Hook SuperX, LLC, No. 32A04-1008-CT-525, the appellate judges only addressed whether Branchfield and CVS were negligent in not warning Kolozsvari about the possible serious side effects. They cited Indiana Code Section 25-26-13-1, which deals with pharmacists and says they must fill all valid prescriptions unless an appropriate exercise of professional judgment indicates that honoring the prescription would be against the patient’s best interests or be contrary to the patient’s health or safety. The judges also referenced Pharmacy Board Rule 1-33-2, which says a pharmacist must initiate an offer to counsel the patient on matters concerning the drug, including side effects or interactions, and Hooks SuperX Inc v. McLaughlin, 642 N.E2d 514, 517 (Ind. 1994).  

“Just as in McLaughlin, where the pharmacist knew that McLaughlin’s refill of his prescriptions was unreasonably rapid and this should have alerted the pharmacist to the substance abuse issues likely associated with this behavior, here, Branchfield had information that gave rise to a duty to exercise professional judgment under the statute,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey.

The judges remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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