An inquest has heard that “shortfalls in communication” between two Boots pharmacies in South Yorkshire caused the death in 2016 of an 84-year-old grandfather. The pharmacy multiple has said it is doing ‘all it can’ to prevent this taking place again.

Richard Lee collapsed in his home and later died in hospital after being given two sets of the same medication. This occurred after his usual Boots branch, which was unable to issue his drugs, handed responsibility to a branch in Frenchgate. Responsibility was later given to a third branch attached to Askern Medical Practice, at which Mr Lee was a patient. A pharmacist was told to inform the latter that Mr Lee’s medication should not be dispensed, but did not record the conversation or inform colleagues before going on leave the next day.

Assistant coroner Louise Slater said: “I find that shortfalls in communication between two pharmacy teams at different branches of the same company resulted in a lack of clarity as to which pharmacy would assume responsibility.”

Mrs Slater said the excess medication doses Mr Lee received were a “contributory factor” in his death and that seven of the 13 drugs would have affected his blood pressure or heart rhythm.

A Boots UK spokesperson said: “Making sure that our patients are provided with the correct medication to support their care and welfare is at the heart of everything we do, so when this isolated incident took place in 2016, a thorough investigation was undertaken to understand what happened.

“Following this, we have made our pharmacists aware of the circumstances to make sure we do all we can to prevent a similar incident happening again in the future.”


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