Supreme Court Rules Employer Has the Right to Choose Injury Worker’s Pharmacy

The Louisiana Supreme Court has held that the employer has the right to choose the pharmacy which an injured worker must use for medication in a worker’s compensation claim.

“La. R.S. 23:1203(A) provides that “the employer shall furnish [**15] all necessary drugs.” Nowhere in the statute does the legislature provide the employee with the right to choose a pharmaceutical provider from which to obtain the necessary prescription drugs. By contrast, the legislature has specifically delegated to the employee the choice of physician in La. R.S. 23:1121(B)(1), which provides “the employee shall have the right to select [*1027] one treating physician in any field or specialty.” (Emphasis added). Had the legislature intended the employee to have the choice of pharmaceutical provider in La. R.S. 23:1203(A), the legislature could have easily provided for that choiceas it provided for the choice of physician in La. R.S. 23:1121. Moreover, the statutory entitlement in La. R.S. 23:1121(B)(1) to choose a physician cannot be read broadly to include an entitlement to choose a pharmacy. Notably, the legislature utilized the very specific term “physician,” rather than the more expansive term “health care provider” which is defined in the LWCA to include pharmacies.”

Burgess v. Sewerage & Water Bd., 225 So. 3d 1020, 1026-1027, 2017 La. LEXIS 1387, *14-15, 2016-2267 (La. 06/29/17);, 2017 WL 2836062