The increase in new prescription drugs and the volume of adults in the United States utilizing them has resulted in an increasing number of adverse drug effects. When the use of any medication leads to illness or death, the victim and/or family members have cause to pursue a product liability lawsuit in order to recover financial damages and hold those negligent accountable for their wrongdoing. Each individual case can differ in circumstances and complexity; therefore, seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney specializing in such casework is key.
Pharmaceutical companies often rush to produce medications in order to reach a specific niche of patients in need of relief before their competition. In doing so they may cut corners and put the patient at risk in the process. It is up to manufacturers to ensure their products are safe, yet if all the requirements are not met, it can lead to dangerous consequences. Whether the product was not thoroughly tested, warnings were not made to patients, or the company itself is unaware of the possible adverse drug effects their product can have, they can be held responsible for any injury it causes.
Manufacturers both large and small are seeing an increased number of lawsuits coming their way. Well-known Bayer Pharmaceuticals has seen upwards of 12,000 lawsuits and dispersed over $400 million in settlements over the dangerous results their birth control pills Yasmin and Yaz have had on women taking them. While some have suffered minor injuries, others have faced life-threatening strokes and blood clots. Another large pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, has had their own growing volume of legal trouble. Their popular antidepressant Paxil is typically taken to treat such psychological disorders as OCD, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet it has had a negative impact on some users including hallucinations, seizures, suicidal thoughts, and birth defects when taken during pregnancy. These serious results have led GlaxoSmithKline to be found guilty of misbranding and mislabeling this antidepressant and failing to properly inform consumers of the necessary safety information. Consequently, the company has seen over 5,000 lawsuits to date, and in July 2012 paid a $3 billion health care fraud settlement, the largest in U.S. history. Other products such as cholesterol-reducing Lipitor, the IUD Mirena, and Wellbutrin have also had their own adverse drug effects leading to product liability litigation at both the state and federal level.
When a patient has experienced an injury of any kind due to the usage of a medication it is important to work with an attorney that has the specific skills and experience necessary to represent their client in this type of case. It is imperative they have access to qualified experts and other resources to ensure success and maximize any awarded damages. The drug injury attorney will determine whether the case is feasible, and recommend at what court level it should be pursued. If the product in question has negatively impacted a large number of people the attorney will assist their client in determining whether to join a class-action lawsuit or proceed with an individual case. While many companies prefer to settle lawsuits brought against them as quickly as possible in order to preserve their reputation and keep legal expenses down, a reputable attorney will make sure the rights of their client come first. They will establish a fair value for the physical, emotional, and psychological injuries that have occurred, and work to maximize the damages recovered.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works to monitor the manufacturing and disbursement of prescription medication, it remains up to the companies themselves to produce safe products with proper warnings that are marketed solely for FDA-approved use.