How long do I have to bring an action against a pharmacist for malpractice?
About Pharmacy Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Florida
Evaluation of the applicable statute of limitations is a critical initial step to be taken in the evaluation of any claim. There is a common misconception that the statute of limitations in Florida for actions based upon the negligence of pharmacists is four years. This is not the case. The statute of limitations in Florida for a negligence claim against a pharmacist is two years and is specifically governed by Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(a), which governs limitations for actions based on professional malpractice.
According to the Supreme Court of Florida, a “profession” is any vocation requiring a minimum of a four-year college degree before licensing is possible in Florida. There can be no equivalency exception, but there is no requirement that the four-year degree itself be in the field of a study specifically related to the vocation in question. Further, a vocation is a profession if any graduate degree is required as a condition of state licensure, without regard to the nature of the undergraduate education. For purposes of the statute of limitations, the only relevant criteria are Florida licensure requirements. Garden v. Frier, 602 So. 2d 1273 (Fla. 1992). Fla. Stat. § 465.007 governs the requirements for licensure of pharmacists in Florida and states, in pertinent part, that any person desiring to be licensed as a pharmacist shall be not less than 18 years of age and the recipient of a degree from a school or college of pharmacy accredited by an accrediting agency recognized and approved by the United States
Office of Education, or a graduate of a four-year undergraduate pharmacy program of a school or college of pharmacy located outside the United States.
Further, Fla. Stat. § 465.002 states that the Florida legislature has found that the practice of pharmacy is a “learned profession.” The issue of whether the practice of pharmacy is a “learned profession” was squarely addressed by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals in Sheils v. Jack Eckerd Corp., 560 So. 2d 361 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990). In Sheils, a pharmacist employed by Jack Eckerd Corporation erroneously prepared the dosage label regarding a prescription for plaintiff’s minor child, which resulted in injuries from a dose four times greater than that prescribed. The pharmacist himself was not sued for negligence. Plaintiff instead sued the corporate defendant under a products liability theory. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal specifically held that a pharmacist is a “professional” within the meaning of Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(a) and that the two-year statute of limitations for professional negligence, and not the more general four-year products liability statute, applied to bar plaintiff’s claim against the pharmacy.
While it is decided that pharmacists are professionals and governed by the two-year statute of limitations specified by Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(a), this specific statute does not contain repose or fraudulent concealment language. In Berisford v. Jack Eckerd Corp., 667 So. 2d 809 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996), the concept of fraudulent concealment in application to a professional negligence claim concerning a pharmacy misfiling a prescription was first discussed. Specifically, plaintiff’s wife died of liver failure on November 13, 1989. More than two years after the wife’s death, her husband filed an action against the pharmacy, claiming that it had negligently provided the decedent with numerous refills of a prescription drug without authorization from the treating physician. The Fourth District Court of Appeal immediately acknowledged that the professional statute of limitations two-year period for pharmacists, as well as the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations, would bar the claim based on the timing of the action. However, the Fourth District tolled the time for a factual dispute regarding the fraudulent concealment doctrine and its application to the statute of limitations for a pharmacist.
Has someone in your family been a victim of pharmacist negligence? Do you have questions concerning the time you have to file a claim? Issues concerning statute of limitations on different malpractice claims are sometimes not clear. You need a qualified, experienced law firm to insure your claim is brought forward in a timely manner. You need the Law Firm of Dan Newlin & Partners to help you through this difficult time. In a free phone call, Dan Newlin & Partners can explain how long you have to bring a claim for different malpractice claims, and identify the particular facts in your case that could create exceptions to the general rule. Call us now at (407) 888-8000 and get all the information you need to bring a successful claim for your injuries. Don’t wait, time is of the essence.