Louisiana High Court Says Employer—Not Injured Employee—Has Right to Choose Pharmacy

Last Thursday, in a split decision, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held that the choice of pharmacy in a workers’ compensation case belongs to the employer, and not the employee [Burgess v. Sewerage & Water Bd. of New Orleans, 2017 La. LEXIS 1387 (June 29, 2017)]. Resolving a split in the state’s circuit courts of appeal, the Court acknowledged that La. Rev. Stat. § 23:1203 obligates an employer “to furnish all necessary drugs” to the injured employee. The statute did not, however, directly address who had the right to choose the pharmacy to dispense the drugs. The Court added that nowhere in the statute did the legislature provide the employee with the right to choose a pharmaceutical provider from which to obtain the necessary prescription drugs. By contrast, the legislature had specifically delegated to the employee the choice of physician [see La. Rev. Stat. § 23:1121(B)(1)]. The Court reasoned that had the legislature intended the employee to have the choice of pharmaceutical provider in § 23:1203(A), it could easily have done so.

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