If you need medication in the U.S., you probably go to one of two places: CVS or Walgreens. The two pharmacy chains have been dispensing drugs to Americans across the country for decades now, but that doesn’t mean they always get it right. In fact, Walgreens has just been hit with a concerning consumer lawsuit over a major medication error. Read on to find out why the drugstore is currently under fire.
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Walgreens has previously faced controversy over the way it distributes drugs to people in the U.S.—both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). Back in June, the pharmacy chain was named in a Missouri consumer lawsuit alongside CVS. According to the suit, the two companies allegedly failed to warn customers about the risks of prenatal exposure to acetaminophen, sold under the brand Tylenol among others, and instead have marketed it as a “safe pain reliever for pregnant women.”
In August, Walgreens faced the heat alone after the state of Tennessee sued the pharmacy chain over its sale of opioids. In his lawsuit, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III claimed that Walgreens violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by failing to control its distribution of prescription pain medication. “The sheer volume of opioids that Walgreens released into Tennessee was unreasonable and highly suspicious on its face,” the suit stated.
Now, Walgreens is back in hot water with a lawsuit surrounding a medication mishap.
Walgreens was just hit with a new lawsuit surrounding major medication concerns, NJ.com reported on Sept. 28. According to the news outlet, the suit was filed by 54-year-old Robert J. Adamski, who resides in Ocean County, New Jersey, in the Superior Court of Ocean City on Aug. 26. Adamski alleges that a Walgreens pharmacy in Toms River gave him the wrong medication. According to the plaintiff, he went to the store on Sept. 8, 2020 to pick up his prescription for Brilinta, which is a blood-thinning drug that helps prevent clots.
“The prescription provided to him by [Walgreens] was not Brilinta, but another pharmacological medicine not prescribed to plaintiff by his treating physician,” the suit states.
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Per NJ.com, James A. Maggs, who is Adamski’s attorney, has declined to name what specific medicine was reportedly given to the plaintiff instead of Brilinta. But it appears that the alleged switch-up wasn’t harmless. Adamski claims the medicine he was incorrectly given made him sick. The lawsuit states that he suffered “serious, painful, permanent, and disabling injuries” because he took the unknown medication, per NJ.com. Adamski says he has been unable to work as a result.
Best Life reached out to Walgreens about the lawsuit, but has not yet heard back.
This is not the first time Walgreens has been accused of giving the wrong medication to customers. According to The New York Times, a 38-year-old man had to be taken to the emergency room in 2018 for swollen and burning eyes after a Walgreens gave him ear drops and not eye drops for a mild irritation. The next year, a woman in Florida went to the ER after having to pull over on the interstate because she was short of breath, dizzy, and had blurred vision. Per The New York Times, Walgreens had given her the right medicine—Adderall—but incorrectly supplied her with a higher dosage of 30 milligrams instead of her usual 20 milligrams.
The issue is not limited to Walgreens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it receives over 100,000 reports every year associated with a suspected medication error. Unfortunately, the impact could be even larger than this. A comprehensive study from the Institute of Medicine in 2006 estimated that medication errors harm at least 1.5 million Americans each year, The New York Times reported.