Court Holds Insurance Company Must Defend Lawsuit Against Medication Distributor

Prescription drugs are controlled by the government for a reason. Often, prescription drugs are dangerous if they are taken in conjunction with other medications, can more easily lead to an inadvertent overdose, and may easily lead to abuse because of their addictive qualities. Over the past few years, the court system has seen a number of lawsuits brought against various manufacturers and distributors of addictive prescription pain killers, claiming that the manufacturer or distributor too loosely controls the dangerous medication. In the most recent case of this type, a court held that the insurance company that covered a prescription drug distributor was required to defend against a case filed against the distributor, alleging that the distributor was negligent in continuing to provide large amounts of prescription medication to local pharmacies.

The Facts of the Case

The State of West Virginia has long been suffering from an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. The government of West Virginia filed a lawsuit against a drug distributor, claiming that the distributor was continually providing dangerous medication to “pill mills” across the state. A “pill mill” is a pejorative term used to refer to a pharmacy where loose regulation of prescription drugs results in many drug-addicted patients filling fraudulently obtained prescriptions.

The drug distributor had an insurance policy through Cincinnati Insurance Company. When the distributor got notice of the lawsuit, it asked the insurance company to help defend against the suit, based on the contractual obligations in the policy. Specifically, the insurance company was obligated to cover any lawsuit arising from a “bodily injury” caused by the distributor. However, the insurance company refused to defend the lawsuit, claiming that the compensation sought was for West Virginia, rather than anyone who suffered a true bodily injury. The court declined to make this distinction and found that the case was based on a claim of bodily injury. Thus, the insurance company will be required to assist the drug distributor in defending the lawsuit brought by the State of West Virginia.

Prescription Overdoses and Legal Liability

The issue of whether a pharmacy, doctor, or drug distributor can be held liable by someone who has become addicted to prescription pain killers is a relatively new legal issue that has only been presented to courts within the last few years. Therefore, anyone considering this type of lawsuit should consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss their case.

Have You Been the Victim of Loosely Controlled Prescription Medication?

If you or a loved one has suffered harm after becoming addicted to prescription drugs, you may have a cause of action against one or more parties involved with the distribution of those drugs. To learn more about prescription drug cases and pharmacy error cases in general, call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation unless we are able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Pharmacists Among Top Professions Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, June 22, 2016.

Major Pharmacy Chain Must Pay $3.5 Million after Allegations of Forged Prescriptions, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 8, 2016.

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