Randol Mill Pharmacy v. Miller: Medical Malpractice and Compounding Pharmacies

Randol Mill Pharmacy v. Miller, a case recently weighed by the Supreme Court of Texas, involves a plaintiff who went to her doctor in 2011 for treatment in connection with her Hepatitis C diagnosis. Her doctor administered weekly injections of a compounded solution of lipoic acid and an antioxidant liquid.

doctorneedle.jpgAccording to plaintiff’s complaint, she had nine weeks of these injections without any side effects and then developed a serious adverse reaction to the lipoic acid. She alleged as a result of this adverse reaction, she was required to be hospitalized, needed several blood transfusions, and is now permanently blind in both eyes.

This solution contained a 200 milligram per milliliter concentration of lipoic acid and was compounded by a pharmacist in connection with an order for three 30ml vials of lipoic acid. There was no mention of any patient associated with plaintiff’s doctor’s pharmaceutical order, and the liopic acid was designated for office use.

In her complaint, plaintiff named her doctor, compounding pharmacist and several pharmacists who work for compounding pharmacist as defendants. Her doctor filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and trial judge granted the motion and severed the dismissed case from plaintiff’s action against pharmacists. As part of her complaint against pharmacists, she and her husband alleged the drugs were defective as result of negligent compounding and negligent failure to place adequate warnings as to potentially dangerous side effects.

As our Spartanburg medical malpractice attorneys can explain, failure to adequately warn of a known danger is often the basis for a products liability lawsuit, and this can render a product unreasonably dangerous or defective.

In response to her claims, defendants treated this as a typical medical malpractice action, and, under state law, filed a motion to dismiss her complaint on grounds she had failed to name an expert within the required 120-day limit. In response to this motion, plaintiff filed an opposition, and trial judge denied defendant’s motion to dismiss.

At this point, defendants filed an interlocutory appeal with the intermediary court of appeals, and a divided court affirmed trial court’s denial of defendant’s motions. The court’s reasons for this, and also the appellate court’s reason for denial of the motion, is that, under state law, a pharmacist is not a health care provider liable for a medical malpractice action, but rather this is to be treated as a products liability action, so the 120-day rule in medical malpractice cases is not applicable.

Defendants appealed to the state supreme court, and this court reviewed trial court’s ruling and earlier affirmation of this ruling. Ultimately, the state supreme court disagreed with the lower courts and reversed and remanded the case, so the motion could be granted. This case was different than typical claims involving a defective drug or medical device, since it involved a compounding pharmacist who is actually making a drug to specifications and should have found out what the purpose of the drug was and information about the patient. This may become irrelevant in the future, as the FDA is working to get rid of compounding pharmacies in general.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Randol Mill Pharmacy v. Miller , April 27, 2015, Supreme Court of Texas

More Blog Entries:
Ratledge v. Purdue – Medical Malpractice Claims Require Expert Witness, March 2, 2015, Spartanburg Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog

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