Our society has become almost completely reliant on the manufacturing of prescription and over-the-counter medication to treat a plethora of conditions. However, with the increase in production of drugs, there has been an increase in the danger of certain drugs. While all prescription medication carries risk of side effects, certain drugs are inherently dangerous and should be approached with caution. Some of the most watched for drugs in this category of dangerous side effects include antidepressants, hormone-replacement therapies, severe pain medications, blood thinners and various vaccines.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves hundreds of new medications and therapies every year. Drug manufacturers are required by the FDA to adequately warn of any possible serious side effects or symptoms that may result from the use of their product. When a company fails to do so or when a manufacturing defect occurs in one batch of their product, consumers are at the risk of serious injuries. Most people who take these drugs are doing so as treatment for existing conditions. Dangerous drugs carry the risk of worsened or additional condition because of side effects.
Drug manufacturers are held to the same liability as any other product manufacturer. The only difference is, because of the nature of their product, their drugs must be taken through an exhaustive clinical trial process before being approved for the market. Failure to fully disclose the results of the clinical trial to the FDA before being approved may be grounds for legal action if consumers are seriously injured by the use of the drug.
When considering whether to pursue a product liability claim concerning a dangerous drug, there are three categories of claims under drug-related product liability that the injured party should be aware of. No two claims are alike. There is a possibility that a drug-related product liability claim involves a combination of the categories discussed below.
Defective Manufacturing: The first category is a claim made of defective manufacturing. This claim involves injuries caused by a drug that was improperly manufactured or tainted by an outside force during the production process. This manufacturing error could have occurred while the drug was being made, bottled or shipped. This would be a situation in which a defect occurred at any point between the manufacturing factory and when the consumer received the prescription drug.
Dangerous Side Effect: As discussed before, some drugs carry inherent risk of certain side effects. Sometimes, a prescription drug can be on the market for years before the realization of a dangerous side effect or an increased risk of serious injury. Victims of such injuries can make the claim that the manufacturer new of this risk and failed to disclose it with the public deliberately. If such a claim can be substantiated by evidence, then the victim in the lawsuit stands to gain even more in damages because the manufacturing company may be fined for punitive damages as well as compensatory damages for the actual injuries.
Marketing Defects: This type of claim concerns the warnings, instructions and recommendations of that drug and its use. A claim under this category would typically involve the accusation that a manufacturer or distributor failed to adequately warn or instruct concerning possible side effects or symptoms. The culprit in this type of claim can be anyone from the manufacturing company itself to the pharmacist that distributed the drug to the injured party.
In a drug-related product liability claim, there are a number of parties that could be responsible for the injuries under question. A successful lawsuit would involve being able to point out the actual culprit for the injuries with evidence to substantiate the claim. While the manufacturer is the assumed wrongdoer, the injuries could have also been caused by a mistake on the part of the testing laboratory and the pharmaceutical sales representative. A patient can also suffer from dangerous side effects if the doctor who prescribed them the drug overlooks a condition or allergy that would make them more susceptible to injury. The hospital, clinic and/or pharmacy the victim used may also be responsible for the injuries since they are a part of the chain of distribution.
Proving that the injuries sustained were due to a drug defect or inherent danger is much like a demonstration in any other claim of negligence. The plaintiff will be required to prove three things: they were injured, that the drug they used and are blaming was defective or improperly marketed and lastly, that the defect in manufacturing or marketing that drug was the direct cause of their injuries.
Not all cases of side-effect caused injuries warrant a product liability claim. There are several key factors that characterize a successful lawsuit against the culprit. The best way to increase chances for success is to consult with a personal injury attorney in the San Fernando Valley. An experienced lawyer will be able to examine the facts of the case, the parties involved in manufacturing and distributing the drugs and the possibility of others who have been injured. If you are considering a drug-related product liability claim because injuries you sustained from taking a prescription drug, contact The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus to discuss your case with a member of the legal team for free and learn about how we may be able to help you get compensation.