In the absence of widespread publicly sponsored needle exchange programs, the proposal has been made that physicians prescribe syringes and needles to intravenous (IV) drug users in order to reduce the risk of infection from HIV and other diseases that could result from needle sharing. One question is whether physicians who engage in this behavior, as well as pharmacists who fill the prescriptions, face a significant threat of malpractice liability if the IV drug user or someone else, perhaps an innocent bystander, is harmed as a result of the prescribed equipment. No such cases have been reported, per- haps because the practice is not yet frequent. For the reasons explained in the analysis that follows, it is unlikely that any malpractice suits would be brought successfully in the future.


Needle Exchange Program

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Place of Original Publication

Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine

Publication Information

11 Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine 73 (2001)

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COinS Maxwell J. Mehlman Faculty Bio