When someone is harmed by a defective drug, an experienced lawyer is essential to fight back against the powerful pharmaceutical manufacturer. These companies maintain entire teams of attorneys and are prepared for legal action. That’s because dangerous pharmaceuticals are one of the most common reasons for filing a suit, and the stakes are often extremely high. A particularly dangerous medication can cost a company hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars, so they will do everything possible to avoid admitting their products are unsafe.
What are the most common claims involving a defective drug?
A lawyer in the field works with people harmed by all kinds of medications, but there is a handful of products that attract the most legal attention. Some of them include:
- Accutane (isotretinoin) – Approved by the FDA in 1982, isotretinoin has been around for decades and is considered highly effective in treating cystic acne. It was prescribed widely in the years following, but it was soon linked to several adverse complications, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and depression. It is also a severe teratogen and can cause permanent and profound development issues in a fetus exposed to the substance for just a brief time.
- Zofran (ondansetron) – Approved in 1991 and considered an essential medication by the World Health Organization, ondansetron interferes with serotonin receptors, preventing them from producing a nausea and vomiting reflex. This makes it ideal for reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients. However, Zofran’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, overstepped its boundaries by aggressively marketing the medication to pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, an off-label use not approved by the FDA. Before long, Zofran was linked to several types of birth complications, including severe congenital heart malformations.
- Invokana (canagliflozin) – Approved in 2013, Invokana is a new tool in the fight against type 2 diabetes. Canagliflozin works by preventing the body from reabsorbing blood glucose, forcing it to be excreted in urine. While this can greatly reduce blood glucose concentration, the process is also linked to dehydration and a life-threatening condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
- Paxil (paroxetine) – Like many other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Paxil is used to treat major depression, social anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other behavioral disorders. However, like other SSRIs, it is strongly linked to suicidal ideation and behavior in children, and can also cause serious birth complications, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN has a significant mortality rate in infants and requires extensive treatment to correct the condition.
- Yaz (drospirenone) – Marketed as an oral contraceptive, Yaz has been linked to an enormous range of adverse effects, severe allergic reactions, and hyperkalemia, a condition marked by elevated potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia is a medical emergency because it can produce heart arrhythmias that may progress to a major cardiac event.
All too often, pharmaceutical companies do not properly research their products, which is why it seems like every year there’s a new defective drug. An expert lawyer will stay current with the latest research in the medical industry, and use similar cases to help a victim fight back as strong as they can.