Mother of Illinois man sues Walgreens for refilling Vicodin even after doctor asked pharmacy to stop

by Eric Pearson

John P. Oles, 29, of Hickory Hills, Illinois died of an overdose in August 2012. His primary physician had previously contacted Walgreens to tell them that Oles was abusing Vicodin and that pharmacists should not fill any prescriptions he obtained from other doctors, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by his mother.

Oles’ doctor contacted the pharmacy in 2010 yet Walgreens continued to fill prescriptions from other doctors, according to the suit. In July 2012, Oles received 90 10-mg tablets of Vicodin and died a few days later.

According to the lawsuit, Walgreens continued to refill Vicodin prescriptions even though a note that Oles was abusing Vicodin had been placed in his Walgreens computer file after his primary physician called. The suit against Walgreens was filed in the Cook County courts last month.

Walgreens has recently received considerable attention for allegedly supplying patients with excessive amounts of painkiller drugs, including Vicodin and OxyContin. In June 20013, an $80 million settlement was announced by Walgreens and the DEA to resolve charges that Walgreens was failing to control opioid pain reliever sales in some stores.

DEA documents said that Walgreens was encouraging its employees to sell Oxycodone, even though dozens of people in Florida were dying from prescription drug overdoses. The agreement with the DEA required one Florida distribution center and six Florida pharmacies to stop dispensing certain drugs including painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin until September, 2014.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson fighting the pain pill industry

Even when used as prescribed, opioid painkillers can cause serious and potentially deadly complications. Because painkillers can lower a patient’s breathing rate, opioid users may be at risk of developing repository depression. Some of these patients may fall into respiratory arrest, which can be fatal if not treated quickly

More people die from prescription drug overdoses each year than from heroin and cocaine combined. A significant part of the problem that is not being adequately addressed is the alarming number of deaths due to overdose on medications that were prescribed for the deceased by their doctors.

Patients who die from overdoses of drugs which have been prescribed for them most often overdose on prescription opioid painkillers. Some of the most commonly used prescription painkillers include:

  • Vicodin (sold generically under the name hydrocodone)
  • OxyContin (sold generically as oxycodone)
  • Dilaudid (sold generically under the name Hydromorphone)
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl pain patch (sold generically under the brand names Sandoz, Watson and Mylan)

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have spent years holding drug companies and negligent prescribing doctors responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by their reckless conduct. When it comes to fighting the makers of prescription painkillers and pursuing the negligent doctors that hand them out, very few lawyers can claim anything close to the considerable experience or success of Heygood, Orr & Pearson.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is among the nation’s leading law firms in handling cases involving potent opioids, and our law firm has the experience to prosecute medical malpractice lawsuits involving a wide array of serious opioid painkillers. To receive a free legal consultation and find out if you are eligible to file a case, please call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this page