Vin Suprynowicz has a good piece on a new lawsuit just brought before the Nevada Supreme Court by Las Vegas attorney Phil Aurbach. The contention is that pharmacists had a duty to voice their concerns to doctors before filling a prescription for a narcotic painkiller for a woman who later killed someone in a car crash (in Vegas in 2004).
Aurbach says Nevada pharmacists continued to fill prescriptions for Patricia Copening even after warnings by a state task force that she might be a prescription drug abuser. He asked the court to reinstate the wrongful death case he seeks to file against several pharmacies.
District Judge Douglas Herndon earlier threw out the case, saying the pharmacies were not legally liable in the crash. Vin concurs and says you can’t hold pharmacists responsible for following doctors’ orders, nor for what people do with the pills they’re given. I agree.
I do think the sentences for people who commit crimes while abusing prescription pills should be much harsher, though. The lady from this story got only NINE MONTHS in jail after killing someone while all doped up. That sentence seems more appropriate for non-negligent manslaughter, not for someone who chose to drive after popping pills that say “Warning: May cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy machinery” on the side of the bottle.