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West Virginia CVS Sued For Chemotherapy Drug Mistake

November 21st, 2014

When patients go to their local pharmacy to get a prescription filled, they do so with the faith that the pharmacist will use appropriate care in providing them with the medication that they need. That was not the case for a Cabell County, West Virginia man whose simple errand to get his prescription refilled turned into a medical nightmare.


Joshua D. Hartsock went to the same CVS Pharmacy on U.S. 60 in Huntington, West Virginia that he always goes to. He requested a refill of his normal prescription for Lamictal, a drug used for the treatment of both seizures and certain mood disorders. The pharmacist informed him that they were out of stock of his medication but that it would be in the next day and so he should return then. When he came back he was again told that the store was out of stock of his medication but that they had a generic version of the drug. They provided him with four bottles and advised him to take it as he had previously taken his Lamictal. Trusting that the pharmacist would not provide him with inappropriate medication or instructions, he took the medication home and followed their instructions.


Two and a half weeks later, Hartsock received notification from the pharmacy that a mistake had been made in the medication that had been given to him and that he should return the unused portion. When he asked about the medication he had been given and what it was meant for, the CVS employee refused to provide him with the information. He contacted a local Rite Aid store and was told that though they were not able to provide him with medical advice, he should immediately go to the local emergency room.


Once at the hospital, Hartsock learned that the medication that he had been given was a drug called Lomustine which is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease and brain tumors. The drug is a toxic chemotherapeutic agent that can cause a rapid decrease in the number of blood cells in bone marrow, leaving patients at risk for developing serious infections or bleeding. There is no word on whether Hartsock became ill or what the ramifications might be of taking the drug when suffering from whatever his condition was that warranted his original prescription. Lomustine is generally taken once every six weeks, while Lamictal is normally prescribed to be taken on a daily or every-other-day basis.


Hartsock has filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia CVS Pharmacy, the pharmacists working for the pharmacy, the pharmacy supervisors and the pharmacy technicians, accusing them of negligence and seeking punitive damages and court costs.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 and 2010-2015 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 - 2015.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after large pharmacy chains to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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