Walgreens has been involved in lawsuits in which it has been alleged that the drugstore committed prescription or medication errors. One such error that almost proved fatal was the prescription of an antipsychotic called Haloperidol instead of an allergy medication for a five-year-old of Crystal Lake, Illinois. After two doses, the victim’s father said that the five-year-old was unable to breathe or talk. His mother said that one more dose would have killed him. They have filed a lawsuit against Walgreens alleging negligence. According to Matt LaSusa, the attorney for the victim’s family, the child was prescribed 10 times the recommended dosage.
And in Warrenville, Illinois, a 15-year-old incorrectly received a prescription for Olanzapine, which is used to treat schizophrenia, instead of a prescription for an antibiotic. The 15-year-old said that her reactions to the drug included rapid heart rate and blurred vision, both of which frightened her. Her mother thought she was going to lose her daughter.
Thus far, as a result of two wrongful death lawsuits, Walgreens has had to pay a total of $57 million. Two other lawsuits were settled for an undisclosed amount. According to a national survey of 50 pharmacies, there is a 1.7% error rate. However, statistics regarding the number of medication errors in Illinois are inaccurate because the state does not mandate that retail pharmacies report them, as is required in 15 other states.
There is little regulation under pharmacy law, in part, because under national law, pharmacies are not required to disclose their errors if they establish internal review systems. In Illinois, they can disregard state subpoenas for error reports due to a court case in which Walgreens was successful.