Oregon sues pharmacy over deaths


Attorneys general in Oregon and Texas have filed lawsuits against a Texas compounding pharmacy that made toxic doses of a drug that caused the deaths of three people.

In February, ApotheCure Inc. made a drug several times more potent than intended because of a weighing error. The drug, colchicine, was sent to a Portland clinic where it was used for the treatment of back pain and caused toxic poisoning in three people in the Pacific Northwest.

The drug was sent only to the Portland clinic, which has since closed.

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers says ApotheCure's error was not an isolated incident and reflected a pattern of substandard care. The company's owner, Gary Osborn of Dallas, is also named in the suit.

ApotheCure did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

"Oregon consumers must be able to assume that drugs as prescribed are safe and effective," Myers said. "We will not tolerate companies that operate in Oregon with reckless disregard of our law."

ApotheCure was unlicensed to operate in Oregon and distributed the highly toxic drug for an unapproved treatment, the suits say. The states also assert that the company failed to follow standard safety practices and exceeded their authorized scope of practice as a compounding pharmacy.

The case is being jointly prosecuted with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who simultaneously filed a similar suit against the Texas pharmacy Tuesday. Abbott's suit also included Spectra Pharm Inc., a retail store owned by Osborn.

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