Prescription problem leads to lawsuit against Walgreens

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by John O'Sullivan

KMOV.com

Posted on October 3, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 3 at 10:41 PM

A St. Louis man received the wrong medicine from a Walgreens pharmacy and took that wrong medicine for several days. He says it nearly killed him, now he's suing for millions.

Ron Apenbrinck says he now has to take 11 medications a day because he got the wrong medicine at the Walgreens on South Kingshighway Boulevard.
“My life has been Hell since then, I can't work no more, I’m in constant pain” said Apenbrink.
 
He says he was taking Hydrocodone for a hernia, instead he got something called Amlodipine Besylate; a pill for patients with heart problems. The bag had his name on it, but the pill bottle had the name of a different patient, Apenbrinck says he didn't read the bottle and took the pill several times a day for several days. He ended up becoming dizzy and falling off of a ledge.
“I was in a lot of pain, my wife was crying screaming for help” said Apenbrink.
 
He spent several days in the hospital suffering from what he called a mini-stroke.
In the lawsuit, his lawyer says Apenbrink he now suffers from an irregular heartbeat, injuries to his head, neck, back, even his nervous system and that the injuries are permanent.
Ron told News 4 he “called Walgreens and they said they were sorry and they had tried to get a hold of me but did not have my information so they could not get a hold of me.” 
 
News 4 asked Walgreens if this case warranted more than a phone call, and at what point would a Walgreens employee drive to someone’s home to get the wrong medicine.
Walgreens said they couldn't comment but that situations like this are rare - but do happen. 
The Missouri Pharmacy Board investigated 74 complaints last year of customers receiving the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage from pharmacies around the state. 
 
Apenbrinck says he's learned something from the experience, “look at your medication before you take it, if you have questions ask the pharmacist.”
 
Walgreens did give News 4 this statement: cases like this are rare, and we take them very seriously. We're sorry this occurred and we tried to contact the family within hours from when the prescription was filled to apologize. We have a multi step prescription filling process with numerous safety checks in each step to reduce the chance of human error. 
We investigate what happens in each case and work to prevent it from happening again.
 
Apenbrinck's lawyer didn't want News 4 to release the voicemails from Walgreens employees, but Investigator Chris Nagus did hear them.
He says a Walgreens employee did apologize, and said they would take care of medical bills.

News 4 will let you know how this case is resolved.

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