Prescription drug injuries: who is responsible?

A woman has been taking a common arthritis medication for a few months when she develops a persistent cough that grows worse with time. At first she thinks it’s just a cold, then maybe allergies. She consults her doctor, but by then it has progressed. It turned out to be a deadly fungal infection called histoplasmosis that her arthritis medication allowed to grow. Who is at fault? An otherwise-healthy man taking a common diabetes medication dies from a sudden heart attack. Who is responsible? An active young woman taking a popular birth control pill suddenly collapses from life-threatening blood clots in her lungs. Who is to blame?

We take medication to cure our ailments but we often aren’t aware of the risk of serious complications from side effects and drug interaction until it’s too late. The truth is that there are a host of high profile drugs, most still on the market, that have been proven to cause serious side effects. Families struck by drug induced injury are left asking who is responsible for the safety of the FDA approved drugs prescribed by their doctor. When facing enormous hospital bills and life-threatening illnesses, confusion and anger are understandable, but who is really responsible?

Recent Major Drug Injury Cases

  • Actos: a diabetes drug that caused 63% increased risk of bladder cancer. Takeda Pharmaceuticals responsible for more than $2 billion.
  • Avandia: a diabetes drug that caused at least 100,000 heart attacks. GlaxoSmithKline has settled 50,000 cases for $3 billion because it failed to report clinical data.
  • Yasmin/Yaz: a birth control pill that causes clots that led to heart attacks and stroke. Bayer faces 12,000 lawsuits.
  • Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade: arthritis medications that led to a fungal infection that has killed 45.

Many believe that FDA certification is a safety seal that not only protects patients but shields companies from being sued. In reality, all the drugs listed above are FDA certified, but this doesn’t protect pharmaceutical companies from product liability for not warning consumers about side effects. More surprising yet is the fact that many of these drugs remain on the market after billion dollar lawsuits by simply adding more warnings.

Injury Responsibility for Prescription Drugs

In the search for responsibility, a doctor could be responsible for medical malpractice if he or she didn’t follow the contraindications. The manufacturer can be help responsible in a product liability lawsuit if the warnings provided were insufficient or if risk information was concealed.

Product liability for the manufacturer can fall into three categories. The first is design if the drug causes injury by the way it was created. In this case, drug companies need to redesign the drug to avoid future responsibility. The second category is marketing, in which risks were not properly communicated. The third type of injury liability arises from manufacturing defects that cause side effects.

What You Can Do

If you suspect you may have been injured by a prescription drug, you are not alone. You should seek the help of an experienced attorney who can help you to know your rights and navigate the difficult issues involved with receiving the injury compensation you deserve.


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