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Home arrow Law Updates arrow Degree of diligence of druggist
Degree of diligence of druggist Print
In Mercury Drug Corporation, et al. vs. Raul De Leon G.R. No. 165622. October 17, 2008 the Court said that Mercury Drug and the pharmacist/druggist, as active players in the field of dispensing medicines to the public, the highest degree of care and diligence is expected of them. Likewise, the Court cited numerous decisions, both here and abroad, that have laid salutary rules for the protection of human life and human health. In a United States case, it was ruled that the profession of pharmacy demands care and skill, and druggists must exercise care of a specially high degree, the highest degree of care known to practical men. In other words, druggists must exercise the highest practicable degree of prudence and vigilance, and the most exact and reliable safeguards consistent with the reasonable conduct of the business, so that human life may not constantly be exposed to the danger flowing from the substitution of deadly poisons for harmless medicines. Also in another case, the US Supreme Court ruled that a druggist that sells to a purchaser or sends to a patient one drug for another or even one innocent drug, calculated to produce a certain effect, in place of another sent for and designed to produce a different effect, cannot escape responsibility, upon the alleged pretext that it was an accidental or innocent mistake. His mistake, under the most favorable aspect for himself, is negligence. And such mistake cannot be countenanced or tolerated, as it is a mistake of the gravest kind and of the most disastrous effect. The US Supreme Court said that considering that a fatal mistake could be a matter of life and death for a buying patient, the said employee should have been very cautious in dispensing medicines. She should have verified whether the medicine she gave respondent was indeed the one prescribed by his physician. The care required must be commensurate with the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with the superior knowledge of the business which the law demands. The Court said that as a buyer, De Leon relied on the expertise and experience of Mercury Drug and its employees in dispensing to him the right medicine. This Court has ruled that in the purchase and sale of drugs, the buyer and seller do not stand at arms length. There exists an imperative duty on the seller or the druggist to take precaution to prevent death or injury to any person who relies on one’s absolute honesty and peculiar learning.
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