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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Blue Cross Penny-Pinching Blamed for Death

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A woman died of a bacterial infection because Blue Cross Blue Shield refused to cover the cost of a life-saving antibiotic, her widower claims in court.

Miguel Mackie sued Louisiana Health Service and Indemnity Co. dba Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, Catamaran PBM of Illinois, Walgreen Louisiana, and a John Doe pharmacist, in Orleans Parish Court.

Mackie says he went to Walgreen's on May 2, 2013 to fill three prescriptions for his wife, Keehian Mackie, who had fallen ill with Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), a life-threatening bacterial infection.

One of the prescriptions was the antibiotic Zyvox.

Mackie claims the pharmacist filled just two of the prescriptions and told him "Mrs. Mackie's Zyvox prescription would cost him $3,000, allegedly because BCBSLA (Mrs. Mackie's insurance company) and/or Catamaran (the Pharmacy Benefits Manager for BCBSLA) would not authorize Zyvox for Mrs. Mackie." (Parentheses in complaint.)

Mackie says the pharmacist told him he would provide alternatives to Zyvox, but that "despite Mrs. Mackie's life-threatening condition requiring Zyvox, Walgreens, pharmacist John Doe, BCBSLA, and Catamaran failed to provide guidance and failed to adequately communicate with each other regarding Zyvox, and failed to provide a reasonable cost or alternatives to paying $3,000."

His wife died of sepsis five days after the Zyvox prescription was rejected. She was 31.

Mackie, who filed the complaint on behalf of his wife and the couple's two minor children, seeks damages for negligence.

He is represented by Stephanie Reuther of the Sakla Law Firm in New Orleans.

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