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Blake, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 44
Experience:  Counsel at Warningstar Intelligence
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I received a liquid narcotic (hydromet) today from a big

Customer Question

I received a liquid narcotic (hydromet) today from a big chain pharmacy. When I opened the medication I noticed there was a hair on the mouth of the bottle and after further investigation I noticed the hair is actually hanging down inside the drug where the hair was closed in the lid. I called the pharmacy and asked if I could bring it back and get a new prescription he told me no because it is against the law to bring back narcotics! He advised me to just take the hair out and take the medicine! My concern is that this is very unprofessional and a major health risk with taking contaminated drugs, for example bacteria or allergens on the hair, etc. I was wondering if I had a legal case on my hands?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Blake replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am an attorney practicing in New York City and a graduate of the ***** ***** University Law School. I was especially interested in responding to your question because I am a bit of an (un-diagnosed) germophobe and I find the service you received to be completely unacceptable. I am sincerely ***** ***** hear that you had to go through this.

I hate to have to give you bad news, but I know that you would prefer to receive good service (for a change) and get an accurate answer than to hear sub par information. Unfortunately, at this time you do not seem to have grounds for a lawsuit. You are always advised and encouraged to consult a lawyer in your area in order to decide upon the best course of action to take. However, the law seems pretty clear in your case.

There are three elements that you must prove in order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit.

First, you must show that the person you are suing (the defendant) owed you a duty to act a certain way. In this case, you can most likely prove that a pharmacist owed you a professional duty of care. Therefore, you can probably meet the first element.

Second, you must prove that the defendant breached (or failed to perform) the duty that they owed you. In your case you may likely be able to convince a jury that leaving a hair in a prescription is a failure to live up to the appropriate level of professional care that pharmacists owe their clients. Therefore, you can probably meet the second element.

The third and final element, however, is that the defendant's breach of their professional duty caused you damages. If you do not prove each of these elements then, as a matter of law, you cannot be allowed to succeed in your lawsuit. This last element is especially important to prove because the damages you suffered dictate the amount of money you are entitled to collect from the defendant. In your case, you really have not suffered any damages up to this point, and therefore, you cannot meet this third element and cannot prevail in a lawsuit.

You have no damages because you received the bottle of medicine that you paid for, and the pharmacist has said that you can, and should, use that medicine. This is disgusting, I know, and if I were you I would certainly call the manager or store owner and complain about this incident. It is likely that the manager or owner will try to compensate you in other ways if you complain. If they do not, I would personally never return to that store and would encourage anyone I know to do the same.

Unfortunately, there is no legal recourse available based on the facts we currently have because you have not suffered any damages. If you do follow the pharmacist's advice however, and take the medicine, and the medicine does in fact result in health complications due to contamination, then you might certainly prove damages and you should contact a local attorney as soon as possible to file a lawsuit for any injuries and damages you might incur at that time. You should be able to find an attorney who would take such a case on a contingency basis. That would mean that you would not have to pay the lawyer anything and if they won your lawsuit they would simply take a portion of the winnings in order to recoup their expenses.

I hope this answer has been helpful to you, if there is anything you would like me to clarify please let me know. I wish you all the best.

Expert:  Blake replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Blake again. I am just following up to make sure you are satisfied with the answer you received. If there is anything you would like me to clarify please don't hesitate to ask. I am always happy to help.

On the other hand, if this information is sufficient and you feel satisfied with this answer at this point, then I would ask that you please press the accept button now and kindly remember to issue a positive rating before you leave this page by choosing from the ratings. This is very important because it is how I receive credit for my service.

I sincerely ***** ***** all the best in this. And, as I said, please feel free to let me know if there is any way I can be of better service on this.