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Mercury Drug Corporation vs. Sebastian M. Baking G.R. No.

156037 28 May 2007

Facts: Sometime in 25 November 1993, Sebastian M. Baking went to the clinic of Dr. Cesar Sy for a medical check-up. After undergoing an ECG, and several examininations, Dr. Sy found the respondents blood sugar and triglyceride were above normal. The doctor then prescribed two medical prescriptions- Diamicron for the blood sugar and Benalize for his triglyceride. Respondent then proceeded to Mercury Drug Alabang to buy the prescribed medicines. The sales lady misread the prescription for Diamicron as a prescription for Dormicum. Thus what was sold was Dormicum, a potent sleeping tablet. Unaware of the wrong medicine, he took one pill on three consecutive days. On the third day he took the medicine, he met an accident while driving his car. He fell asleep while driving. He could not remember anything about the collision nor felt its impact.

Suspecting the tablet he took, respondent went back to Dr. Sy who was shocked after finding that what was sold was Dormicum instead of Diamicron. He filed the present complaint for damages against petitioner. The trial court favored the defendant which was affirmed by the CA hence this petition.

Issue: Whether the petitioner is negligent, and if so, is the negligence the proximate cause of the accident

Ruling:

Art. 2176 provide the requisites of negligence: 1. damage suffered by the plaintiff, 2. fault or negligence of the defendant, 3. connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damage incurred by the plaintiff. It is generally recognized that the drugstore business is imbued with public interest. Obviously, petitioners employee was grossly negligent in selling the wrong prescription. Considering that a fatal mistake could be a matter of life and death for a buying patient, the said employee should have been very cautious in dispensing medicines. She should have verified whether the medicine she gave respondent was indeed the one prescribed by the physician.

Petitioner contends that the proximate cause of the accident was respondents negligence in driving his car. Proximate cause is that cause, which in natural and continuous sequence unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred Proximate cause is determined from the facts of each case, upon a combined consideration of logic, common sense, policy, and precedent. Here, the vehicular accident could not have occurred had petitioners employee been careful in reading the prescription. Without the potent effect of Dormicum, a sleeping tablet, it was unlikely that respondent would fall asleep while driving his car, resulting in collision. Petition DENIED.