Defense Verdict in Pharmacist Medical Malpractice Case

Mark Wankum and David Littleton successfully defended a clinical pharmacist in a multi-week medical malpractice trial in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The plaintiff and her husband alleged that the pharmacist recommended a contraceptive medication contraindicated by the FDA given her history of an arterial clotting disorder. The pharmacist had a brief curbside consultation with the plaintiff’s family physician, who subsequently prescribed a progestin-only injectable contraceptive. As a result of the injection, the plaintiff claimed that she sustained an acute clotting event that resulted in the amputation of her leg. The plaintiff was in her mid-20s.

In addition to the parties, the jury heard from leading experts in the field on hormonal contraception, clotting disorders, and injectable progestin-only contraceptives. Representatives of the pharmaceutical company also offered testimony regarding the contraindication contained in the package label. Much of the trial centered on the conflict between the package label approved by the FDA and recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The case also presented issues of first impression under Arkansas law regarding duties owed by a clinical pharmacist in the context of a curbside consultation with a physician. Plaintiffs sought damages well in excess of $2 million based upon an extensive life care plan, permanent disability, and significant pain and suffering.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the pharmacist.

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