Pharmaceutical drugs are one of the most effective tools we have in modern medicine for treating and curing diseases. Unfortunately, like all medical treatments, drugs come with risks, and when administered improperly or defectively manufactured, those risk increase a great deal.
Defective drug claims can be filed when a person using a drug is injured, made ill, or dies after consuming a pharmaceutical drug. There are three types of defective drug claims, including:
- Defectively manufactured pharmaceutical drugs
- Dangerous side effects from pharmaceutical drugs
- Improper marketing of pharmaceutical drugs
Some of the most notable defective drug liability claims in recent years include:
Defectively manufactured drugs are drugs that were made incorrectly or were contaminated. As careful a drug manufacturers claim to be, errors occur at manufacturing facilities and unfortunately, these errors might not be detected until the drug users are affected. It’s also possible for a defective drug manufacturing incident to occur during the shipping or labeling process or at the pharmacy where it is bottled
It’s also possible a defective drug lawsuit could be filed if a particular drug causes dangerous side effects. Keep in mind, all drugs and medication cause side effects for at least some people, but as long as these are not considered serious and/or can be reversed by no longer using the drugs, rarely is legal action taken.
Legal action is, however, an option when a drug’s side effects cause severe illness or injury, or in some way alter a person’s quality of life with long-term consequences. In many cases, these lawsuits arise after a drug has been on the market and in use for a longer period of time and over the course of time, evidence builds against the safety of the drug.
In some cases, drug manufacturers are suspected of discovering these dangers before they are public knowledge and concealing them from the medical community and consumers.
Drug manufacturers frequently market their product to doctors and directly to consumers. Though many are suspicious of this practice and consider it unethical, it is legal – as long as manufacturers are honest about the side effects of the drug and do not exaggerate its benefits. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, drug manufacturers have been accused of and found guilty of doing both of these things.
Every day patients are faced with decisions about their health. They make these decisions based on their doctor’s advice, combined with the information they gather about treatments, including pharmaceutical drugs. If they are given false or misleading information, it’s impossible to make an informed decision and many suffer severe consequences they never knew were a risk after using FDA-approved drugs.
In addition to improper marketing, drug manufacturers have also been accused of tampering with pre-market test results, increasing the odds their products will be approved by the FDA, despite potential dangers. Several lawsuits have included claims of interfering with or concealing information from clinical trials. A few examples include studies that are too short, concealing negative result from studies from the FDA, and “rigging” studies by looking at only small, non-diverse groups of users.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Defective Drug Claims
Legal action is permitted against any and all persons and companies associated with a defective drug. This means in addition to the manufacturer of a specific drug, hospitals, doctors, medical staff, and pharmacies can also be named in lawsuits. Testing laboratories, researchers, and even the FDA have also been named in defective drug lawsuits.
The FDA’s role in approving and dealing with defective drugs is complex. Every drug must receive FDA approval before hitting the market, but how approval is received varies from one drug to another. The FDA also has a variety of options available for dealing with drug defects, not all of which prevent further injuries or illnesses, including issuing reports, demanding further research, adding more stringent or more specific warnings to drug packaging, and removing the drug from the market.
If you have experienced illness or injury as a result of using a defective drug, your attorney will investigate the chain through which that drug made it to you and determine who involved in the process could be held legally responsible.
Our goal is to help consumers understand the risk they face when using pharmaceutical drugs, even those that appear to be safe because of FDA approval, and to ensure those who are harmed by these drugs understand they have options.