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Chicago jury awards $31 million against Walgreens in prescription mis-filling medical malpractice case

Last week, a Chicago jury awarded $31 million to the estate of a man who died as a result of receiving the wrong prescription from a Walgreen’s pharmacy. The award consisted of $25 million in punitive damages. The Cook County jury ruled that Walgreens showed “utter indifference” to people’s safety by not keeping accurate track of its medications, thereby allowing a pharmacist to illegally steal and take drugs for eight years before incorrectly filling a Schaumburg man’s prescription, leading to his death.

The 77-year-old man took a gout medication called Allopurinol, which he phoned into the Schaumburg Walgreens in January of 2001. The pharmacist James Wilmes filled the prescription with Glipizide, a diabetes medication. After the man took the pills for two days, he went into a diabetic coma, subsequent kidney failure and eventually died.
It was also revealed that Wilmes had signed a statement when he was fired admitting to taking uppers and other drugs – at a total theft of 86,000 pills over eight years.

Levin & Perconti is currently prosecuting a case involving a prescription mis-filling at a Walgreens pharmacy in Puerto Rico. A 59-year-old man underwent surgery for a liver transplant at the University of Chicago. Doctors prescribed an anti-organ rejection medication called Prograf, of which the patient was to take 5mg doses twice daily. The pharmacy mistakenly filled the prescription with 0.5mg, or one-tenth of the prescribed amount. The pharmacy made the same mistake a month later when the patient refilled his prescription, again giving him just one-tenth of the amount prescribed.

As a result of the sub therapeutic amount of medication, the Plaintiff rejected his transplanted liver and received a second liver transplant in order to survive. He has suffered a number of medical complications and hospitalizations ever since.

For the article on the $31 million jury verdict.