Florida Woman Files Lawsuit Over Mailed Free Sample of Prozac Citing Privacy Violations
A South Florida woman who received a free sample of once-a-week Prozac filed suit this week against her doctors, pharmacy chain Walgreen Co. and Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. for alleged invasion of privacy and improper medical practice, AP/Newsday reports. According to the lawsuit, Walgreen allowed Eli Lilly access to patient medical records and provided the drug maker with a list of antidepressant users. Walgreen spokesperson Michael Polzin denied the allegations and said that the company "properly filled prescriptions from doctors' offices for all the Prozac it mailed." Walgreen maintains that it sent the Prozac for free after Lilly provided the pharmacy chain with "coupons" for reimbursement. Polzin did not comment on the number of free samples mailed or the amount that Lilly reimbursed Walgreen for the samples. Representatives of the woman's doctors' office, Holy Cross Medical Group, did not comment on the case, but AP/Newsday reports that a prescription for Prozac did not appear in the woman's medical records.
In a statement, Lilly said that "it was inappropriate to mail medicine to patients without their request." Lilly spokesperson Debbie Davis said, "To the extent Lilly personnel may have participated in this program, Lilly apologizes to those patients affected by it. We are investigating this matter vigorously and if company policies were violated, Lilly will take appropriate action." The FDA has monitored the case "closely" to determine whether the agency should take action. (Neergaard, AP/Newsday, 7/4). Meanwhile, the Florida attorney general's office has started its own investigation to determine whether Lilly violated the state's unfair trade practices law (Burton, Wall Street Journal, 7/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.