Brief of Court Case
Walgreen Co. vs. Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board
Citation: It was decided on February 19, 1998.
Wisconsin Appellate Court
The owner and operator of several pharmacies of the Walgreen Company in Wisconsin violated various regulatory statutes and administrative rules relating to pharmacies when it accepted prescription orders form physicians by a computer electronic mail system and provided used computers for some of the physicians participating in the test.
Facts: The Walgreen Co. is a national company. It does business with pharmaceutical medicine. Walgreen tested a computer system it had developed whereby ten physicians electronically transmitted prescriptions to a Walgreen pharmacy. Each electronically transmitted prescription contained the same information as a written or faxed prescription but did not include the physicians signature. Walgreen provided the necessary software to the ten participating physicians and also supplied six of them with used computers and modems at no cost. Walgreen's program violated 450.01, but the board reasoned that, because the statute does not specifically mention electronic transmissions, but rather defines a "prescription order" as simply " a written or oral order by a physician for a drug or device for a particular patient." The board determined that the program violated the "rebate" rule because Walgreen received a financial benefit by providing free computer equipment to several of the participating physicians. The board assessed a forfeiture of $89,200 against Walgreen. Walgreen sought judicial review of the board's decision and the circuit court reversed, with the respect to the 450.11(1), violation that prescriptions transmitted electronically were more analogous to prescriptions ordered by telephone, which, under the statute, a physician doesn't need to sign.
Issue: Should Walgreen Co. be able to supply free computers to physicians participating in a test and...