Medicine & the Law - LawCall

19-year old Yarushka Rivera had an epileptic seizure that killed her. Now, her family is suing Walgreen’s Pharmacy for failing to get her the medication she was prescribed to help lessen the seizures.

The Riveras are suing Walgreens for the wrongful death of their teenager. She was prescribed the medication, Topimax, for her condition. Her insurance, MassHealth, covered the drug, and the family was able to pick it up from Walgreens, until one day when they didn’t.

Rivera was 18-years old at the time the prescription was written, but at the time that the insurance company refused to cover the medicine, she had turned 19. At that time, the pharmacy told the Riveras that it would need pre-authorization for the meds to be covered by insurance. Without that, the medicine would cost them $319 out of pocket, each month.

According to the lawsuit, Walgreens is set up to request such pre-authorization by computer; but the drug chain allegedly failed to do that. The family went back to the pharmacy five times attempting to get their daughter’s medicine, and each time the pharmacy told them that they would notify the doctor’s office.

The family was told they would have to fill out a 2-page request along with the request from the pharmacy. The Riveras maintain that they never received the paperwork, and according to the suit, it is unclear as to whether or not the pharmacy made a separate request.

Without her medicine, Rivera had three seizures. The third seizure was fatal, and she died at just 19-years old.

Walgreens has been fighting the case, and won a summary judgement, which was successfully appealed by the Riveras. Now, a Superior Court has ruled that the wrongful death lawsuit may go forward.

What would you do if this was medicine for your loved one and you could not afford to pay out of pocket?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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