Patients trust that the companies that make pharmaceutical drugs have taken the care necessary to ensure the products they consume are safe. Yet far too often, manufacturers are negligent with the drugs they put on the market. Patients and sometimes doctors don’t understand that a pharmaceutical drug defect may cause serious harm or even death.
If a defective pharmaceutical drug harmed you or a loved one, you might have the right to seek compensation. The attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy are ready to put our experience to the test for you.
What Is A Pharmaceutical Drug Defect?
All drugs have the potential to cause side effects or negative interactions, such as with alcohol or other medications. Therefore, suffering from a drug injury does not necessarily mean the drug is defective. Pharmaceuticals are considered defective, however, when the side effects are severe enough to outweigh the potential benefits.
These are some of the most common reasons drugs are defective:
- The drug was improperly manufactured. Errors in the manufacturing process can make pharmaceuticals defective in several ways. For instance, bacteria, harmful chemicals, and other substances may contaminate the medication. The drug can also be manufactured at the incorrect dosage (too strong or too weak), which means it may either cause serious side effects or be ineffective at treating the underlying condition.
- The drug was insufficiently tested. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of pharmaceuticals. But contrary to popular belief, the FDA doesn’t test drugs. The agency relies on testing data provided by the drug manufacturers. Sometimes this data is unreliable, manipulated, or even false, and thereby misleads the FDA in approving the drug.
- The drug was not properly labeled. This includes labeling about proper usage, warnings against side effects and adverse interactions, and directions for taking the medication. Pharmaceuticals typically have extensive labeling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the labeling is sufficient. Missing information could prove harmful or even fatal.
Common Defective Drugs
If a drug you are using is causing severe side effects, adverse interactions, or other complications, see your doctor right away. Any drug has the risk of being defective, but there have been several pharmaceuticals in the last few years that have consistently proven to have problems. These are a few of the most common ones:
- Talcum Powder
There are many more drugs that could potentially cause serious harm. If you’ve become injured because of a defective pharmaceutical, or you believe you have, see your doctor immediately. Failure to get prompt medical attention will not only risk your health, it may jeopardize your ability to recover monetary compensation.
The Consequences of a Pharmaceutical Drug Defect
A harmful pharmaceutical product will cause obvious medical issues and may require hospitalization or other medications to reverse the effects of the drug. The exact effect will vary from one patient to the next, and depend on such factors as:
- The dosage prescribed
- How long the patient took the drug
- Why the drug was prescribed
- The side effects experienced
- Other medications and health issues
Besides the medical problems, a defective drug may cause several other damages. These are losses that could be compensated in a subsequent civil action against the liable party, and they include:
- Lost time from work, to account for missed income due to hospitalization or other treatments
- Lost earning capacity, in the event the patient is unable to work at the same level of productivity after being hurt by the drug
- Pain and suffering, in cases in which the victim experiences long term health, emotional, or mental problems
- Wrongful death, in the event the patient dies because of the defective drug
How To Hold Drug Makers Liable
Pharmaceutical companies have a legal responsibility to ensure that the products they put on the market are reasonably free from dangerous errors. That doesn’t mean drug makers have to prevent every single problem that could arise. As mentioned above, all drugs have the potential to cause side effects or adverse interactions. Companies, including those who make drugs, are only responsible for unreasonably dangerous drugs that they knew or should have known, would cause harm to patients. Placing these on the market could be an act of negligence.
After getting the necessary medical attention for you or your loved one, start documenting as much as you can about the harmful drug. Don’t throw it out or return it to the pharmacy; keep it stored in its container and leave it some place where others, especially children, won’t access it.
Any records you have about the drug may prove useful. That could include receipts or other proofs of purchase as well as your medical and pharmacy records. Save this information for later. Also, make notes about anything unusual you noticed about the medicine, such as its appearance, smell, or taste. The more details you have about the events surrounding your injury, the better.
Other Parties That May Be Liable
Drug manufacturers tend to be liable for pharmaceutical product defects, but they don’t always bear sole responsibility. Pharmacies as well as doctors can sometimes share the blame if they were negligent. An experienced Philadelphia drug defect lawyer will investigate the circumstances of your injury and advise as to the different parties that may be liable. All responsible parties will be included in your claim, a key step in making sure you get compensation for your injuries. So be sure to let your attorney know all of the details in your case.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Pharmaceutical Drug Defect Attorney
Drugmakers that put corporate greed over the public’s health should be held accountable for the injuries and deaths they cause. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed by a defective drug, take action now to get the justice you deserve. Schedule your consultation today with Cooper Schall & Levy.