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Drug Injuries

Drug Injuries

Injured by an Unsafe or Recalled Pharmaceutical Drug? Call 1-800-ATTORNEY Now!

A person only needs to open the newspaper or listen to the news to know that certain drugs are frequently the target of product liability lawsuits. The problem is that information is often discovered about these drugs only after many people have developed serious side effects. Unfortunately, this happens in spite of the fact they are required to undergo testing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sadly, this happens more often than one would think.

Testing and Release

Drug Injury AttorneyWhile the criteria put into place by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the testing of drugs and medicine is considered an industry standard, this does not mean that the manufacturer relinquishes its liability to any injured plaintiff because the FDA approved the product for sale. If the drug turns out to be defective or causes previously-unknown side effects, the manufacturer is still liable for the resulting injuries and deaths.

Excluding over-the-counter drugs, all prescription drugs products have what is commonly called a “learned intermediary” between the manufacturer of the drug and the potential user. This could be any number of people including the prescribing doctor, nurse who provides instructions, or the pharmacist who fulfills the prescription. Because of the number of people involved, it can be difficult for the average person to determine the chain of responsibility for a drug injury. This is where a good product liability lawyer can be beneficial.

Manufacturer’s Obligation

While a drug manufacturer has an obligation to the public to provide warnings of any known side effects, it cannot be expected to warn of dangers of which they are not aware. Fortunately, the pharmaceutical company is also responsible for continuing to acquire knowledge of its products, and keeping medical experts updated on any adverse effects of which it becomes aware.

Sometimes in product liability cases that involve drug injuries, the plaintiff is not able to identify the exact manufacturer or supplier (often because there has been a long lapse of time since it was prescribed). This might be true of drugs such as those a mother took while pregnant, but whose child may not exhibit symptoms of a birth defect until years later.

Drug Injury Cases on the Rise

There has been a 50 percent increase in the number of people receiving hospital treatment for medication errors in recent years. A total of 1.9 million people got sick or became injured in 2008 as a result of drug injuries. This compares with 1.2 million in 2004, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). It should be noted that the data only compiles information from patients treated in hospital emergency rooms because of medication errors, and fails to distinguish between errors in the way the drug was prescribed, how the pharmacy dispensed the medication, or an error on the part of the consumer.

The AHRQ data indicated that among patients who were admitted to the hospital because they took the wrong medication or dosage, corticosteroids were the most common ones to cause side effects or injuries. These are medications commonly used in the treatment of asthma, ulcerative colitis, or arthritis. Other medications that caused a high number of patients being admitted to the hospital were pain relievers, cancer drugs, heart and blood pressure medications, and blood thinners.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a drug-related injury, an attorney can help you assess your individual case and determine who is obligated to provide compensation for those injuries. To learn your rights and legal options (for free), just call 1-800-ATTORNEY 24 hours a day.

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