Archives: Prescription Drugs

Subscribe to Prescription Drugs RSS Feed

Quest Diagnostics Report Reveals That Prescription Drug Misuse Remains Widespread

A new Quest Diagnostics report released on September 6, 2017 reveals that over 50% of drug test results showed evidence of misuse of prescription drugs.  The report, entitled “Prescription Drug Misuse in America: Diagnostic Insights in the Growing Drug Epidemic,” examined 3.4 million prescription medication monitored lab tests performed by Quest between 2011 and 2016.  … Continue Reading

Employee Suspected of Drug Diversion Could Not Establish “Regarded as Disabled” Claim

An appellate court recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of a hospital that terminated the employment of a nurse for diverting medications, rejecting her claim that she had been perceived to be a drug addict by her employer. Demastus v. University Health System, Inc., No. E2016-00375-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. of Appeals March 2, 2017). Laura Lee … Continue Reading

$1.6 Million EEOC Settlement Highlights Dangers of Making Assumptions About Employees’ Use of Medications

The EEOC entered into a Consent Decree on November 15, 2016, settling a case alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act for $1.6 million. The EEOC claimed that the employer took adverse actions against applicants and employees with actual or perceived disabilities on the basis that the employer believed the individuals posed safety threats.  … Continue Reading

Employer’s Honest Belief That Employee Violated Drug Testing Policy Defeated ADA Claims

An employer that terminated an employee based on its honest belief the employee violated its drug policy was entitled to summary judgment on the employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act claim, according to a Kentucky federal court. The court also granted summary judgment to the employer on the employee’s failure to accommodate and wrongful discharge claims. … Continue Reading

Bus Mechanic Who Uses Adderall for ADHD Can Proceed with Disability Discrimination Claims

A federal district court in the District of Columbia has allowed a bus mechanic to proceed with claims of disability discrimination and retaliation, after he was fired for using Adderall to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”). McFadden v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, CV-12-940 (D.D.C. September 2, 2016). McFadden was hired by WMATA as … Continue Reading

FDA Warns Against Mixing Opioid Medications and Benzodiazepines

As part of the federal government’s efforts to address the opioid abuse epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a safety announcement on August 31, 2016, advising against the mixture of opioid medications and benzodiazepines. Specifically, a FDA review found that combining opioid medicines with benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the central … Continue Reading

Employer’s Honest Belief That Employee Could Not Perform Job Due to Use of Opioid Medications Did Not Constitute Disability Discrimination

An employer’s decision to bypass an employee for a position based on the employee’s use of opioids was not enough to prove the employee’s disability discrimination claim, according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ferrari v. Ford Motor Company, Case No. 15-1479 (6th Cir. June 23, 2016).  The Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of … Continue Reading

Termination For Conduct Caused By Side Effects of Prescription Medication Was Not Disability Discrimination

A federal court in Florida has upheld an employee’s termination due to her “inebriated” conduct that was caused by her use of prescription medications, holding that her discharge did not constitute disability discrimination. Caporicci v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 8-14-cv-2131-T-36EAJ (M.D. Fla. May 27, 2016). Lisa Caporicci worked for Chipotle as a crew … Continue Reading

Deaf Employee Who Was Fired For Positive Drug Test Result Could Not Show Disability Discrimination

A deaf employee who tested positive for hydrocodone – but could not produce a prescription for the drug – was not discriminated against due to his disability when his employer fired him.  Phillips v. PPG Industries, Inc., Case No. 5:14-CV-1274 (N.D. Alabama Nov. 24, 2015). Phillips was employed as a “finisher” in a manufacturing facility … Continue Reading

Employee Termination Upheld Due To Failure To Comply with Employer’s Prescription Medication Policy

A federal court in Utah upheld the termination of an employee who did not disclose his use of prescription medication in accordance with his employer’s policy.  Angel v. Lisbon Valley Mining Co., Case No. 2:14-CV-00733 (D. Utah Nov. 23, 2015). Angel was employed as a haul truck driver at Lisbon Valley Mining Co., a copper … Continue Reading

EEOC Sues Employer Who Allegedly Refused to Hire Methadone User

In the last three years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed numerous lawsuits against employers who take adverse actions against applicants and employees who use prescription medications. In accordance with that trend, EEOC filed suit on November 3, 2015 against an employer who purportedly refused to hire a recovering drug addict using methadone, alleging … Continue Reading

President Announces Efforts to Target Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Epidemic

During a visit to the state of West Virginia on October 21, 2015, President Obama addressed the country’s growing prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic by announcing several efforts to address these issues. The President’s actions focus on the increase in heroin-related overdoses in recent years – which nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013. According … Continue Reading

National Safety Council Urges Employers to Take Steps to Address Employee Addiction to Opioid Pain Medications

The National Safety Council (“NSC”) has published a report entitled Prescription Pain Medications: A Fatal Cure For Injured Workers, urging employers to educate employees about the dangers of using opioid pain medications – such as addiction and death – while also taking steps to avoid potential liability in workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation. The … Continue Reading

DHHS Proposes Rules Permitting Oral Fluid Drug Testing and Synthetic Opiate Testing

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) proposed new guidelines in the Federal Register on May 15, 2015 that would revise the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs in two significant ways: (1) to permit the testing of oral fluid specimens for drugs; and (2) to include drug testing for certain … Continue Reading

Workers Abuse A.D.H.D. Drugs To Be More Productive At Work

The New York Times reported on April 18, 2015 that employees increasingly are abusing stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to be more productive at work. Prescription stimulants have a calming and “focusing” effect on individuals with A.D.H.D., a disorder marked by severe impulsivity and inattention. The Times article stated that while reliable … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Reminder to Medical Review Officers Concerning Employees’ Use of Prescription Medications

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued on September 30, 2014 a reminder to Medical Review Officers (MROs) concerning transportation employees’ use of prescription medications.  Specifically, the reminder addressed the process to be followed when verifying drug test results of employees who use prescription medications, as well as the MRO’s obligation to raise fitness-for-duty concerns … Continue Reading

Pre-Offer Drug Tests Violated Americans with Disabilities Act

Pre-offer drug tests to determine the use of both legal and illegal drugs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act’s prohibition on pre-offer medical inquiries, a federal court in Pennsylvania held on March 6, 2014.  EEOC v. Grane Healthcare Co. and Ebensburg Care Center, LLC, d/b/a Cambria Care Center, CV No. 3:10-250 (W. Dist. Pa. Mar. … Continue Reading

FDA Announces Intent to Recommend Reclassification of Hydrocodone

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on October 24, 2013 that it intends to recommend that products containing hydrocodone should be reclassified from Schedule III to Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act, to increase controls on the use and misuse of opioid products.  Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain reliever that is found … Continue Reading

New York Doctors Required to Consult Database Before Prescribing Certain Drugs

Last year New York became the first state to enact a law mandating that doctors and pharmacists track patients’ prescription medication history.  The tracking system, known as I-STOP – Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing – went into full effect on August 27, 2013, and now requires doctors to consult a database of a patient’s prescription … Continue Reading

FDA Addresses Epidemic Levels of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

The Food and Drug Administration announced on April 16, 2013 that it is taking two steps to address the “epidemic levels” of prescription painkiller addiction in the U.S.  First, it announced that it will not approve generic versions of the painkiller OxyContin.  In addition, the FDA approved updated labeling for OxyContin extended-release tablets to describe … Continue Reading
LexBlog