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Pharmacy Cleared in Opioid Suit

Thu, 12/01/2022 - 03:17

A New York State judge has dismissed a lawsuit against NYCO Chemists III, which does business in East Hampton as White’s Apothecary, in which the pharmacy had been accused of overfilling prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

The case was brought by Peter Bistrian, who, according to court documents, was rushed to the emergency room at Southampton Hospital in January 2016 after experiencing a serious adverse reaction from taking oxycodone and Carisoprodol together with Suboxone, which he had been taking for a prior opioid addiction. 

Mr. Bistrian, a former East Hampton resident who now lives primarily in Florida, filed suit in January claiming that Dr. Ralph Gibson and White’s Apothecary demonstrated negligence when they allegedly overprescribed and overfilled painkillers. Mr. Bistrian had been taking those painkillers to ease injuries he has said he sustained 10 years earlier when he was assaulted in a federal prison while serving 51 months on a wire fraud charge.

On Nov. 15, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph C. Pastoressa ruled that “a pharmacist cannot be held liable for negligence in the absence of evidence that he or she failed to fill a prescription precisely as directed by the prescribing physician or that the prescription was so clearly contraindicated that ordinary prudence required the pharmacist to take additional measures before dispensing the medication.”

Justice Pastoressa also wrote that “there is no allegation that the pharmacy had any knowledge of the plaintiff’s medical condition” when it filled the painkillers for Mr. Bistrian.

The judge also denied a motion for summary judgement on the part of the lawsuit involving Dr. Gibson, who practices in East Hampton and who last treated Mr. Bistrian in 2018, according to court documents. Dr. Gibson’s attorneys asserted the statute of limitations had run out, but Justice Pastoressa said that the time frame had been extended under New York State executive order during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr. Bistrian’s attorney, Daniel A. Schnapp of the high-profile Nixon Peabody law firm, declined to comment Tuesday. Paul Kassirer, an attorney representing White’s Apothecary, did not respond to a request for comment.

Since it was first published, this story has been updated to correct information on the part of the case involving Dr. Gibson.

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