What Are Grounds for a Class Action Lawsuit Against a Drug Company?

May 31, 2022 Drug Injury

A Drug Injury Lawyer Can Help Determine Whether You Have Grounds

Should you join a class action lawsuit against the pharma company to make them accountable for your injuries after taking their drug? When your doctor prescribes you any medication, it may be intended to cure a disease or condition, improve health, or relieve pain. However, sometimes the unexpected happens, and the drug you thought would help you ends up severely harming you.

If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed or someone has died due to an injury from medication, you may be entitled to compensation through a class action lawsuit. A class action lawsuit against a drug company occurs when a group of injured individuals affected by the same bad drug comes together to sue the drug manufacturer. This “similarly situated” group of individuals who have been affected by the same bad drug becomes the class. That class may then be represented by one or several attorneys and law firms.

To be part of the class action lawsuit against a drug manufacturer (the defendant in the case), you must meet certain criteria, or “grounds.” This means you have been harmed by a drug in the same way that others in the class (the plaintiffs in the case) have been harmed, through negligence on the part of the drug manufacturer. In Texas, this harm may also fall under the doctrine of strict liability, where the drug was sold in an unreasonably dangerous condition.

Lawsuits against drug companies are extremely complicated, and large corporations and their insurance companies have a team of lawyers on their payroll attempting to fight them, so if you think you have grounds to participate in a class action or other drug injury lawsuit, you should consult with a injured victims in drug injury cases experienced with this type of case. In addition, there may already be a class action lawsuit in progress, and an attorney can evaluate whether you can “opt in” and join this class action or whether you should file an individual case.

The Houston drug injury lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law have successfully handled cases on behalf of clients who were harmed by pharmaceutical companies who introduced defective drugs into the medical marketplace. We are proud to represent injured victims in drug injury cases and help them get the financial compensation they deserve. We have the resources to effectively pursue your claim, including relationships with qualified pharmaceutical experts and leading consumer advocates as expert witnesses.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or illness from taking a bad drug or had a family member die from the same, talk to one of our attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. At this point, maybe you’re unsure of whether filing a lawsuit or joining a class action is in your best interests. However, don’t let these doubts prevent you from getting the help you deserve.

We offer a free consultation to examine the circumstances of your drug injury and determine the best way to move forward.

Call (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 today to get started.

How do I join a class action lawsuit against a drug company?

Your attorney can help determine whether you should “opt in.”

The best way to join a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company is to consult with a qualified drug injury attorney.

Class action lawsuits are expensive, complex, and may take the lawyers quite some time to obtain a settlement or judgment for their clients. Drug injury lawyers can check to see whether there is already an ongoing class action for the particular drug causing you harm. These class action lawsuits against drug companies will generally be referred to by the drug’s name followed by the word “lawsuit” (e.g., Zantac lawsuit).

If there is already an ongoing bad drug class action against a pharma company, you may have the right to “opt in.” Generally, you won’t be required to pay anything upfront because the legal fees and costs will be advanced by the attorney(s) representing you, as well as other class members. Under this scenario, however, you will be asked to enter into some agreement with your attorney(s), in which your attorney(s) will be collecting a percentage of the settlement or court judgment at the end of the case.

If you are part of a class action lawsuit, you most likely will not be involved with the day-to-day aspects of the case, but you will have to convey information to your attorney that may include:

  • your medical history and how you believed you were injured by the drug
  • how you obtained the medication
  • how the medication harmed and affected you and diminished your quality of life
  • any other losses or damages you experienced.

If you aren’t sure whether you should join a class action lawsuit or you wish to get additional information before making that decision or the decision to file any other type of lawsuit, contact the attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law at 713-973-8888.

What drugs have class action lawsuits?

Pharmaceutical class action lawsuits generally fall into one of several categories.

Prescription drug class action lawsuits are the most common, but lawsuits may also fall into the following categories:

  • over-the-counter (OTC) class action lawsuits
  • opioid class action lawsuits
  • antidepressant class action lawsuits.

Some high-profile prescription drug class action lawsuits include:

Levaquin Lawsuit – Lawsuits arise because the drug, along with other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, increases the risk of an aortic aneurysm, heart failure, heart attacks, aortic aneurysms, nerve damage, and tendon ruptures. Levaquin is also reported to cause ruptures in the rotator cuff (shoulder), biceps, hands, and thumb.

Elmiron Lawsuit – Elmiron is used to treat interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome (PDS), which causes painful inflammation of the bladder/pelvis, ulcers, and bleeding. The lawsuit claims that use of the drug can lead to maculopathy, an eye disorder which can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Valsartan Lawsuit – Valsartan treats high blood pressure, and the current lawsuit claims that several batches of valsartan were contaminated with substances that caused liver, kidney, or stomach cancer.

Jardiance and Farixga Lawsuit – These drugs lower blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes, but manufacturers failed to warn that they can increase the risk of contracting Fournier’s Gangrene.

Zostavax Lawsuit – Zostavax is a vaccine used to prevent shingles, but the manufacturer, Merck, failed to warn doctors and patients that this vaccine can actually cause shingles, as some reports suggest. It’s essential to be aware of potential Zostavax side effects when considering vaccination.

Tenofovir Lawsuit – This is used to treat HIV and hepatitis B infections, but Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer, failed to remove Tenofovir even though it has led to kidney disease and bone injuries in some patients.

Pradaxa Lawsuit – Pradaxa is a blood thinner that treats blood clots and prevents stroke but has led to severe bleeding cases, including several fatalities. Individuals who have experienced Pradaxa’s adverse effects may consider pursuing a Pradaxa side effect lawsuit to seek compensation and justice for their injuries.

Viberzi Lawsuit – This medication treats diarrhea and abdominal pain for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but the manufacturer failed to warn that people without gallbladders are at risk of developing pancreatitis.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Class Action Lawsuits

Just because a drug is readily available over the counter, this does not mean it cannot cause damage. Zantac is a medication taken for years that is the subject of class action lawsuits. Zantac treats and prevents heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and stomach ulcers, but it also contains a substance that causes cancer. Drug makers Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim should have known about this cancer-causing chemical, but failed to warn the public.

Opioid Class Action Lawsuits

Opioids relieve pain, but have a strong potential for addiction. The biggest opioid case to date, against Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, involves a multibillion-dollar settlement. The lawsuit alleged that companies marketed these drugs in a misleading way, downplaying the risks and exaggerating the benefits and that distributors supplied millions of pills when they should have realized there was a problem and the drugs were being abused.

Antidepressant Class Action Lawsuits

Some side effects of antidepressants include increased suicidal ideation and behavior in adults, teens, and children. There are also claims of birth defects from mothers taking antidepressants, including brain and skull defects, respiratory distress, and persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in newborns.

Some antidepressants associated with lawsuits include:

  • Lexapro
  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Zoloft. Zoloft carries the “black box” warning, the strongest product label from the FDA.

How does a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company work?

Lawsuits typically allege that a pharmaceutical company made a drug that was defective in design, manufacturing, or marketing.

In a class action lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, the legal team must show that the medication had one or more of the following defects:

Manufacturing Defects

One common defect that consumers run into when having consumed bad drugs is a “manufacturing defect.” This particular defect involves some type of mistake in the manufacturing process that results in the creation of a dangerous drug. For example, someone in the drug manufacturing company may have tainted its ingredients, changing the composition of the drug. Different portions of the drug’s components may have been unexpectedly mixed, making the end product not perform as intended.

Dangerous Side Effects (Design Defect)

A design defect refers to when a drug is appropriately manufactured but comes with too many unwanted side effects that make its use unsafe. As a result, the medication is considered dangerous and defective. Design defects can also involve medical devices. For design defects, lawyers will argue that the pharmaceutical company either knew or should have known from previous testing about the dangerous side effects.

Marketing Defects

A marketing defect for prescription medications is also known as a failure-to-warn claim. These defects arise when the drug company fails to warn its consumers, whether through inadequate safety warnings or insufficient instructions on the label or general flaws in marketing practices or tactics. Sometimes drug companies make the mistake of not providing consumers with enough information to weigh the benefits of using that particular drug against the side effects. In some egregious instances, you may have pharma companies engaging in deceptive marketing tactics to mislead consumers to think a drug helps treat a certain condition or cure a disease when past research does not support this.

What Winning a Class Action Lawsuit Requires

To win a bad drug case based on negligence, attorneys for the plaintiffs must prove that:

  • The drug manufacturers owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs not to cause harm.
  • The defendant breached the duty of reasonable care.
  • The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries.
  • The plaintiffs suffered damages as a result.

Texas is a state that recognizes strict liability. In a bad drug case based on strict liability, the plaintiff doesn’t need to prove that the defendant breached any sort of duty. Rather, the plaintiff only needs to show that:

  • A pharmaceutical was sold in an “unreasonably dangerous” condition.
  • The unreasonably dangerous condition existed at the time the pharmaceutical left the defendant’s control.
  • The dangerous condition was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • The plaintiffs suffered damages as a result.

Be aware that Texas has adopted a learned intermediary doctrine. This means that, in certain cases, the manufacturer’s duty to warn consumers is limited to providing adequate warnings to the prescribing physician, who then assumes the duty to pass the necessary information on to the consumer. If this applies in your case, you may still be able to file a lawsuit, but instead of filing against the manufacturer, the lawsuit would become a medical malpractice case filed against the prescribing physician.

FAQs About Class Action Lawsuits against a Drug Company

What if the drug has been approved by the FDA?

In the United States, pharmaceutical companies that wish to sell drugs must undergo numerous tests trials before the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can place their stamp of approval on the particular drug. In theory, this process helps ensure drug quality and that medications are safe and effective once they’re off the production line and into the consumer’s hands. You can learn more about the FDA’s drug development and approval process by visiting the following webpage: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/development-approval-process-drugs.

However, the reality is that the FDA’s approval stamp does not guarantee that the pharma company’s drug will not have dangerous side effects on U.S. consumers. The FDA regularly issues many recalls for defective drugs. And, unfortunately, by the time the FDA does recall these so-called “bad drugs,” consumers will have already sustained severe injuries. These bad drugs can give rise to lawsuits, including class action, medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death lawsuits.

If I decide to join a class action lawsuit against the pharma company for a bad drug I’ve taken, how can I best prepare my case?

A best practice is to collect evidence and keep a record of how the drug has affected you. You will want to document how your injuries have developed since taking the drug. At some point, your attorney(s) will ask you to provide them with details on your injury and the impact on your quality of life. You should also jot down information on how you obtained the medication, including the doctor that prescribed it and when, and the pharmacy and pharmacist that filled the prescription.

What if I believe that my doctor or pharmacists share in the blame?

You may find yourself in a situation where you were severely injured by the bad drug’s dangerous side effects and by the negligence of your doctor in prescribing the drug that harmed you. Examples include your doctor’s prescribing the wrong dosage or failing to realize that you had allergies or were concurrently taking other medications, resulting in your having an allergic reaction. Based on your particular circumstances, you may have some basis for a medical malpractice claim.

The pharmacist who handed you the medication can also be held liable if his or her negligent actions resulted in an injury to you. Pharmacists, like doctors, are held to a duty of care, and they could be held negligent in situations when they handed you a series of drugs and knew or should have known that they were harmful when taken together but did not say anything to you.

Contact our attorneys at the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury law firm to discuss your options

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or are suffering the wrongful death of a loved one who took a bad drug, talk to one of our attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm to learn more about class action or other legal options. If you’ve suffered health complications and additional medical expenses due to a medication mistake or a bad drug, or if a family member has died and you suspect that it was because of a medication, we can advise you about your options for seeking compensation for your damages or on behalf of your family member.

Don’t delay. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations (CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE TITLE 4 CHAPTER 74 SUBCHAPTER A Sec. 74.001) for product liability and medical malpractice claims, including bad drug claims. (*Always speak directly to an attorney for the exact deadlines that apply to your claim(s).) This means that you have two years from the date you discover your injury to file a lawsuit. If you fail to do so, your lawsuit will be dismissed, and you won’t be able to receive any compensation.

Call our Houston law firm now at 713-973-8888 for a free, no-obligation consultation. You have nothing to lose.

Disclaimer: This information is for general information only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Terry Bryant

Attorney Terry BryantTerry Bryant is Board Certified in personal injury trial law, which means his extensive knowledge of the law has been recognized by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, setting him apart from many other injury attorneys. The 22 years he spent as a Municipal Judge, Spring Valley Village, TX also provides him keen insight into the Texas court system. That experience also helps shape his perspective on personal injury cases and how they might resolve. This unique insight benefits his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]

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