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Lansing, Michigan

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Pharamcy error causes patient to receive wrong medication

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Gregory Rossini had a liver transplant in 1996 and eventually developed Hepatitis C. He was prescribed Rebetol for his hepatitis C, but on January 15, 2005, he was given the wrong medication by his local pharmacy. Instead of receiving his Rebetol, he received Reyataz, an HIV medication.

Mr. Rossini was initially suspicious of the pills he received on January 15, 2005, because they were different then normal, but he did not want to challenge the pharmacist. On March 8, 2005, he received a letter from Dr. Max M. Cohen who told Mr. Rossini he was given the wrong medications.

Dr. Cohen explained there was a “robotic malfunction” involved in the mix-up, but no further explanation was given. According to the lawsuit, a pharmacist manually distributed the wrong medication. The mix-up caused Mr. Rossini to have his hepatitis symptoms worsen, as well as chills, dizziness, fever, loss of appetite and weight, and his eyes and skin turned yellow.

Although the letter from Dr. Cohen states there was a clear mistake that occurred, it tries to blame the problem on a machine malfunction. What Dr. Cohen’s letter ultimately proves is the pharmacist who manually dispensed the medications did not do the job properly. This was a human error caused by a possibly negligent pharmacist, not a machine malfunction. It’s not clear why having to dispense the medications manually would result in a mix-up. While it is true the medications have similar names, they treat very different diseases. The pharmacist should always make sure the proper medications are dispensed under a valid prescription.

If you suspect any medications you have received are not correct, please contact your local pharmacist to make sure the prescription was filled properly.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.