Washington In Majority on Limiting Scope of Pharmacists’ Duty
A patient sued her physicians and pharmacist for injuries resulting from the adverse effects of her prescription. The court found when a physician prescribes medication for a patient, the physician, a learned intermediary, has the duty to advise the patient of its potential adverse effects. The court held as a matter of law the pharmacist had neither a general common law, nor a statutory, duty to warn the patient of the potential adverse side effects of a drug. Washington is among the majority of states that absolves pharmacists of the duty to warn. A pharmacist's role is restricted to counseling concerning the safe and effective administration of the medication, and does not impose any regulation to explain medical risks.