Cackowski v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
In Cackowski v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 767 So. 2d 319 (Ala. 2000) the Court held that a pharmacist is an "other health care provider" for purposes of the AMLA.
In arriving at this holding, this Court construed the term "employed," as it is used in 6-5-481, to encompass more than employment or contractual relationships between physicians and persons involved in the delivery of health-care services. See id.
The Court construed "employed" to apply to a person of whom the physician makes use, or whose services the physician engages. See id.
Accordingly, this Court concluded that a pharmacist is a health-care provider for purposes of the AMLA "because a pharmacist and/or a pharmacy is inextricably linked to a physician's treatment of his patients" and "the dispensing of drugs is an integral part of the delivery of health care services to the public." Id.
In Cackowski v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the plaintiffs alleged that a pharmacist employed at a pharmacy operated by Wal-Mart Stores had negligently filled the plaintiff's prescription with the wrong medication.
The Court wrote:
"After careful consideration, we conclude that the pharmacist who filled Mrs. Cackowski's prescription was included within the AMLA definition of "other health care provider." To hold otherwise would be inconsistent with our prior decisions, particularly the decision in Tuscaloosa Orthopedic Appliance Co. v. Wyatt, [460 So. 2d 156 (Ala. 1984),] where neither an employment relationship nor a contractual relationship existed between the physician and the orthotist. An individual goes to a physician for treatment of a physical complaint. Upon examining the patient, the physician may determine that a course of medication is necessary to treat the patient's condition. Accordingly, the physician writes out a prescription, which the patient takes to the pharmacy of his choice to be filled. Although it is the physician who prescribes the medication, it is only a pharmacist/pharmacy that can fill the prescription, by supplying the patient with the called-for medication. See 34-23-1(17) and (18), Ala. Code 1975. Because a pharmacist and/or a pharmacy is inextricably linked to a physician's treatment of his patients, the dispensing of drugs is an integral part of the delivery of health care services to the public. For this reason, we conclude that a pharmacist is within the definition of "other health care provider" set out in 6-5-481(8), Ala. Code 1975." (So. 2d at 14.)