Maryland Court Discusses Duties Pharmacists Owe Patients

Pharmacists are considered health care providers under Maryland law. As such, if they fail to abide by the standard of care they can be held liable for any harm caused by their negligence. Typically, to demonstrate that a pharmacist committed malpractice, a plaintiff must show that the pharmacist breached a duty owed. As such, absent proof of a duty owed, the plaintiff’s claim will most likely fail. This was evident in a recent Maryland case in which the court ruled that a pharmacist had no duty to warn a patient of the dangers of taking a medication and dismissed her claim. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a pharmacist or doctor, it is advisable to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered permanent harm after taking a medication she was prescribed after she was exposed to toxic mold. Specifically, she developed acute gastritis, which later became chronic, and was hospitalized several times. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug and the pharmacy that filled her prescription. As to the pharmacy, she alleged that it failed to warn her of the potential side effects of the medication, thereby causing her harm. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court granted the motions.

Duties Pharmacists Owe Patients

As to the pharmacy, the court held that the plaintiff failed to state a claim for which the court could grant relief. Specifically, her complaint did not set forth facts that, if proven to be true, demonstrated a plausible right to relief. The court noted that a plausible claim must be more than merely speculative or conceivable.

In other words, the allegations asserted must show that there is more than a sheer chance that the defendant acted in an unlawful manner. Here, the court found that the defendant pharmacy had no duty to warn the plaintiff of the drug’s alleged side effects. In doing so, it explained that the Maryland appellate courts endorsed the application of the learned intermediary doctrine to pharmacies. This means that if the courts obligated pharmacies to issue warnings directly to patients, it would create unsustainable confusion and promote dangerous practices in the consumption of prescription drugs, like the second-guessing of a doctor’s advice. Thus, the court found that the plaintiff’s claims must fail, and dismissed her case.

Consult a Skilled Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Pharmacists have an obligation to perform their professional duties properly, and if they don’t, they can be held accountable for medical malpractice. If you were injured by a careless pharmacist,  you should consult a lawyer to determine what evidence you must offer to prove liability. The skilled Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law are well-versed in what it takes to win medical malpractice cases, and if we represent you, we will zealously pursue the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can reach us by calling us at (410) 889-1850 or using our form online to set up a meeting.

Contact Information