Pharmacy Prescription Mistakes

By Greg Kohn

Nagel Rice is investigating claims against pharmacies for issues related to mistaken prescriptions or overfilling of prescriptions. Pharmacies including CVS are under scrutiny for allegedly encouraging the prescription of unnecessary medications and at times potentially harmful quantities, leading to the potential for a class action lawsuit. In the automated system, pharmacies repeatedly request refills, even for medications intended for short-term use, putting pressure on doctors and their office staff. In many instances, patients are not the ones initiating the request for refills. Pharmacists have also reported quotas and pressure for “successful” calls, defined as those leading to the agreement for a refill.

The American Psychiatric Association reported that CVS had been giving patients larger supplies of medication than prescribed by their doctors. While this is standard practice for maintenance medications for chronic conditions, it’s considered inappropriate for other drugs like lithium, often prescribed to bipolar patients and potentially lethal if taken in excess. Despite a system by CVS allowing doctors to request that 90-day supplies not be dispensed to their patients, reports suggest that this has not fully addressed the issue. CVS maintains that they are refining and enhancing the program, asserting that their outreach to patients and doctors helps patients stay up-to-date on medications, leading to lower costs and better health. However, critics argue these practices might be more focused on increasing sales.


CVS Class Action Lawsuit

Over-prescribing medications could have serious implications for both patients and Doctors’ offices including:

  • Patient Safety Concerns: The most immediate danger of pharmacies over-prescribing medications lies in the risk to patient safety. Over-prescription can lead to adverse drug reactions, increased risk of drug interactions, and the potential for overdose, particularly with potent medications. For instance, drugs like lithium, used in treating bipolar disorder, can be lethal in excessive amounts. Furthermore, there are risks associated with extended use of medications intended only for short-term treatment, such as certain steroids or antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics, for example, can contribute to antibiotic resistance, a major global health concern.
  • Out of Pocket Damages:  Patients end up paying for medication they don’t need.  Prescription medication can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars especially if the patient does not have health insurance or their health insurance does not cover the prescribed medication.
  • Doctor’s Offices Have to Respond to Refill Requests:  Doctors’ offices are inundated on a daily basis with prescription refill requests by CVS that were not prescribed by the doctor or requested by the patient.  Doctors and their staff are then forced to take countless hours out of each day to deny these baseless and dangerous prescription refill requests at the expense of patient visits.

Nagel Rice LLP is exploring the possibility of a class action lawsuit against pharmacies on behalf of patients to compensate patients for paying for medications they did not need and on behalf of physicians to prevent the increase in operating costs and excess time spent on administrative duties rather than patient care in responding to these unnecessary and dangerous recall requests. This lawsuit is also intended to bring about needed reforms in the industry.

Please contact Randee Matloff at or call us at 973-618-0400.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.