7 year old given synthetic heroin instead of ritalin by Walgreens


Thread Starter
Feb 19, 2003
Injured Boy's Family Blames Walgreens
Associated Press


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The family of a brain-damaged boy who received methadone instead of an anti-hyperactivity drug has asked for millions of dollars in sanctions against Walgreens.

Attorneys for Joshua Dunbar made the request Friday, after a mistrial was declared when a store pharmacist testified that a prescription that Walgreens said proved it could account for all the methadone in its Espanola store was forged.

Lawyers for the Dunbar family on Friday gave the court affidavits from jurors who said they had been prepared to return a verdict of perhaps $350 million or more in damages against Walgreens before the mistrial was declared.

Joshua was described as a bright, hyperactive 7-year-old who was supposed to get a generic version of Ritalin. Instead, his family's lawsuit claims, he got methadone, a drug used to wean addicts off heroin.

On Nov. 10, 2001, Joshua felt ill, went to sleep and couldn't be awakened. He spent six days in a coma and two months in hospitals where his lawyers say diagnostic tests confirmed strokes and permanent brain damage.

After the boy's hospitalization, state police seized vials of Joshua's medicine. One of them had the Ritalin clone, the other methadone.

The judge declared a mistrial Aug. 5 after the Walgreens pharmacist testified about the allegedly fraudulent prescription. The Walgreens lawyers withdrew from the case, disputing any allegation of wrongdoing. Walgreens has denied all allegations in the lawsuit.

Walgreens has argued that its procedures safeguarded against errors such as the one alleged by Dunbar's lawyers. Any injury to Joshua, the company argued, was not Walgreens' fault.

Rick Mascarenas, the Walgreens pharmacist, testified that a Walgreens attorney told him she had found a missing prescription that reconciled an apparent discrepancy in the store's methadone inventory.

Mascarenas, who was also named in the lawsuit, said he believed the prescription had been forged and that he told his supervisor about it.

"Nothing was done by anyone at Walgreens ... until Mr. Mascarenas decided to confess this conspiracy in open court on Aug. 5, 2003," the request for monetary sanctions says.

Michele Estrada, one-time pharmacist and Albuquerque attorney defending Walgreens, denied that her law firm was involved in any misconduct.

A Walgreens corporate attorney in Deerfield, Ill., did not return a message Saturday seeking comment. There was no answer at the company's legal department Sunday.

Hope they get every penny and then some.
Jul 14, 2003
There is no excuse for this kind of mistake. Unless the drugs sre physically simillar, (and what idiot would make them so?) - Wow there are no words, the poor boy - and his family can never be truly compersated. But I'm sure a Million or so would be a start on taking care of the little guy for the rest of his life. Let's hope that he can have some sort of recovery.
Oct 4, 2003
OMG..can you imagine the horror the parnet must experience...dear lord, prayers for the child please


Always remembered in our hearts
Apr 17, 2002
No matter how many "safeguards" are in place at a pharmacy, errors do occur! I know what my son's pills look like so was surprised one day to see they'd changed. Turns out he had received 20 mg pills when he used 30 mg. I returned the pills and the pharmacy (a well-known national company) claimed "well our counts are right!" Well to me that means someone else's child received my son's 30 mg when they should have had the 20 mg! :rolleyes: The second error on their part I encountered was the pill I received was a capsule, where it'd always been a pill. Turned out it was a larger mg and extended release. And this pharmacy has a safeguard of THREE people checking the prescriptions if they are controlled substances which my son's scripts are. :rolleyes: Shows how good their safeguards are!

So I too hope the above mentioned family gets a tidy amount of money from Walgreens! Their child is irreversibly brain damaged! No amount of money can ever bring their little boy back! What a shame! :( Take care. angel

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