CVS Sued for Fraud, Negligence After Compound Medication Made with Lactose

CVS Health Solutions, CVS Pharmacy, and CVS Caremark (collectively CVS) are under suit from a plaintiff family over allegations that the pharmacy knowingly misrepresented the drug they were selling to the plaintiffs. Because the minor plaintiff has an extreme lactose intolerance, she was required to obtain medication that was lactose free. The case was removed to the Central District of California.

CVS sold allegedly medication containing lactose to the Kederis family for years, advertising it as lactose-free Bethanechol. The plaintiffs are suing for damages due to negligence, fraud, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices, professional negligence, and violations of the consumer legal remedies act.

The minor plaintiff has a condition known as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), which has required medical management since a young age. MCAS is commonly treated with Bethanechol, a medication containing lactose. Due to her lactose intolerance, the plaintiffs had to obtain a version of Bethanechol without lactose. They claim that CVS assured them “that they can compound the Bethanechol without lactose.” The plaintiff began taking the drug from CVS in July of 2013, and began “experiencing a plethora of symptoms including, but not limited to: constant nausea, extreme abdominal pain, and vomiting.”

The severity of the side effects caused the plaintiff to be homeschooled when she entered her freshman year of high school. About 6 years later, in February of 2019, CVS notified the plaintiffs that they could no longer provide the compounded Bethanechol. In need of another medication, plaintiff Lora Kederis contacted the pharmacy to ask what ingredients were used in the medication in hopes another pharmacy could produce lactose-free Bethanechol. CVS explained to her that “compounding would not be an option since every form of Bethanechol had lactose.” This prompted the realization by Lora that CVS had knowingly been misrepresenting the drug the then-minor plaintiff had been taking for almost 6 years.

The plaintiff then immediately stopped taking the Bethanechol. The complaint detailed that “almost immediately, plaintiff…stopped vomiting, her nausea dissipated, and her stomach pains ceased.”

The plaintiffs are alleging negligence, explaining that CVS “created a product that departed from its intended and expressed design,” which caused severe harm to the plaintiff. Due to the intentional misrepresentation and deceit, they are also alleging fraud, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices, professional negligence, and violation of the consumer legal remedies act.

After the supposed “years of injury and unjust hardship,” at the hands of CVS, the plaintiff are seeking substantial damages. They are seeking general, special, incident, consequential, actual, and punitive damages in addition to permanent injunctive relief and any other relief deemed just and proper by the court.

The plaintiffs are represented by Sahar Malek Law. The defendants are represented Lafollette Johnson Fesler Dehaas and Ames.