MARTINSBURG - A Berkeley County man says his mail-order prescription provider switched the medication he was taking, causing him health problems.

William Brooks filed a lawsuit May 26 in Berkeley Circuit Court against Express Scripts, Inc., that says the company filled his Digoxin prescription with Coumadin.

Brooks, a retired employee of the State of Pennsylvania, says he "received a bottled labeled as Digoxin .125 mg from the defendant. The bottle contained a green sticker which included the language, 'This is the same medication you have been getting. Color, size or shape may appear different.'"

Digoxin increases the force of heartbeats by providing the heart's cells with more calcium. What was in his Digoxin container, Brooks says, actually turned out to be Coumadin, which helps reduce the chance of blood clots.

"The plaintiff's health began to fail and after many visits to the doctor and hospital, no cause for the deteriorating health could be found," the complaint says. "Eventually and fortunately, one of the plaintiff's doctors requested that the plaintiff bring all the medication he was taking in to his office.

"At this point it was discovered that the medication sent by the defendant and labeled by the defendant as Digoxin was actually Coumadin and the plaintiff essentially overdosed on Coumadin for 20 days."

The lawsuit adds that Express Scripts is believed to have made this type of mistake in the past with other consumers.

"Indeed, the plaintiff was pushed near the brink of death from his negligence," the complaint says.

Brooks is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

"The plaintiff suffered problems with his foot, problems healing, problems with his eyes which required medical intervention and additional medical problems," the complaint says.

Ronald S. Rossi of Martin and Seibert in Martinsburg is representing Brooks.

Judge Christopher Wilkes has been assigned the case.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number 06-C-375

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