BARTOW, Fla. – A jury awarded $25.8 million Friday to the family of a cancer patient who was given a wrong prescription, had a stroke and died several years later, lawyers said. Beth Hippely was prescribed Warfarin, a blood thinner, in 2002 to treat breast cancer. The prescription filled at a Walgreens pharmacy was 10 times what her doctor prescribed, court documents said.
The Polk County Circuit Court jury found the prescription error caused a cerebral hemorrhage resulting in permanent bodily injury, disability and physical pain. The mother of three died in January at the age of 46.
A 19-year-old pharmacy technician, with little training, misfiled the prescription, according to court documents.
The lawsuit was filed in 2003 by Hippely, her husband Deane Hippely and their children against the Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen Co. for negligent breach of duty and wrongful death.
“Beth Hippely died unnecessarily because this tenfold overdose with Warfarin by the pharmacy she trusted caused her cancer to come back with a vengeance and it interrupted all of her cancer treatments,” her lawyer Chris Searcy said. “They have been seeking justice for almost five years and this was a case that screamed out for justice.”
A statement released by the company expressed sympathy for the Hippely family.
“We’re truly sorry for what the Hippely family has been through, and we’ve personally apologized to them,” Walgreens spokeswoman Carol Hively said in a statement. “We have been, and continue to be, the leader in pharmacy safety initiatives. We had hoped the verdict would have been fair and reasonable.”
Hively said the company had not decided if it would appeal the decision.