Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Pharmacy in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Andrea H. Kott and Patrick S. Viktora won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a pharmacy defendant in a wrongful death action following the overdose of a 53-year-old male. The plaintiff alleged the pharmacy filled and dispensed multiple prescriptions of Methadone in quantities and time frames that were not appropriate. Ms. Kott and Mr. Viktora successfully argued that there was no common law or statutory duty to refuse to fill a prescription because it is for an “excessive” quantity, and that a pharmacist was not required to second guess the physician’s medical judgment in writing the prescription. On appeal the plaintiff argued that the existence of the “prescription monitoring program” placed pharmacists in a better position than doctors to discover “excessive” prescriptions, creating a duty for a pharmacist to warn the patient or notify the physician that the dose was excessive. Ms. Kott and Mr. Viktora, with the assistance of Kevin J. Clancy, argued on appeal that the plain language of the prescription monitoring program did not impose a duty on pharmacists to second guess physician’s prescriptions. The First District Appellate Court agreed with Ms. Kott, Mr. Viktora and Mr. Clancy, and held that the pharmacy had no duty to monitor the decedent’s methadone prescription history, to attempt to determine whether such use was “excessive,” or to communicate a corresponding warning to the prescribing physician or the decedent.


The Appellate Decision can be found at Hernandez v. Walgreen Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 142990.