Prince’s heirs have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against pharmacy chain Walgreens and the hospital that released the singer a week prior to his overdose. The suit claims that the hospital, Trinity Medical Center in Moline, Illinois, failed to diagnose and treat his overdose on April 15, 2016 after Prince’s plane made an emergency landing to have him treated.
While at Trinity Medical Center, Prince was allegedly given two doses of Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Prince, who arrived at the hospital barely breathing needed a second shot of Narcan in order to resuscitate him. Still, the musician was not diagnosed with an overdose at the time and died a week later on April 21 at his home in Minneapolis. Prince was 57 years-old.
“Prosecutors believe that Prince had likely overdosed [on April 15] on what he believed to be prescription opioids like Vicodin, but were actually black market versions containing the much more powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. Authorities determined that, without knowing, Prince most likely took a counterfeit drug containing fentanyl” which resulted in his death six days later, according to the New York Times.
The suit immediately followed Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announcing last week that Prince passed away from taking the counterfeit Vicodin pill laced with the potent opioid. With no evidence to determine who provided Prince with the altered drug, no one was charged in the death of the Purple Rain singer.
Carver County attorney’s office said in its announcement “The fact that criminal charges are not brought does not mean that some person or persons associated with Prince did not assist or enable Prince in obtaining the counterfeit Vicodin. After all, Prince somehow came into possession of the pills — and the pills had to come from some source.”
In addition to the hospital, lawyers for Prince’s estate have also named the pharmacy chain Walgreens in the suit. Filed in Cook County in Illinois, the suit claims pharmacists at two Walgreens locations “prescription medications not valid for a legitimate medical purpose.”
While at the hospital, Prince reportedly told his attending doctor that he had taken two Percocet which the doctor doubted since it would not have taken two doses of Narcan to revive him. Dr. Mancha said the notoriously private musician declined all testing and returned to his home in Minnesota.
Prince was in the possession of Percocet because Minnesota physician, Michael Schulenberg, had written a prescription for the drug to Prince’s employee Kirk Johnson, knowing full well the drugs were for the musician. While Schulenberg has admitted no liability, he settled with the federal government on Thursday for $30,000 for his behavior.
According to the investigative report into Prince’s death, the musician told a friend that he taken a Vicodin from a Bayer bottle. Dr. Mancha had one of the pills that resembled hydrocodone (or Vicodin) to the pharmacy to be identified. She was informed that the pill was hydrocodone even though it was not tested and authorities located a Bayer bottle filled with 64.5 similar pills on Prince’s nightstand after his death. Those counterfeit pills contained fentanyl.