Around 82% of all Americans take at least one medication daily, and millions of Americans use over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies everyday to manage diseases, treat infections, relieve pain, and promote overall health. All new drugs, generic drugs, and over-the-counter drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be marketed and sold to the public. Although standards and requirements for drug approval are rigorous, many drugs and medications have caused serious, life-threatening side effects, disability, and even death.
When the FDA approves a drug, it is certifying that the drug’s benefits outweigh any known risks. However, clinical trials are only done to small groups of people, so sometimes dangers and adverse side effects are not discovered until the drug has been given to thousands of people. Errors in manufacturing, problems with drug testing, mislabeling, failure to warn of hazards and side effects, and defective drugs can cause catastrophic, life-altering injuries, and even end in death.
If you have been injured by a medication or over the counter drug, you may be able to file a pharmaceutical litigation claim. The dangerous drug lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm may be able to help navigate your claim, as well as the complex laws that surround drug liability and medical malpractice cases. Contact our law offices for a free and confidential consultation at (215) 709-6940.
Who is Responsible for Keeping Medications Safe?
Pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers have a duty to maintain that their products are reasonably safe and work the way they indicate. They must inspect and test their products for safety, and warn consumers about possible side effects, hazards, contraindications, and drug interactions. Even with the stringent standards medications must meet, every year 700,000 adverse drug events occur, sending hundreds of people to emergency rooms across the country, resulting in 120,000 hospitalizations a year. Dangerous and defective drugs can cause serious injuries such as:
- heart attacks
- brain damage
- liver and kidney failure
- internal bleeding
- blood disorders
Drugs can be dangerous due to errors in manufacturing and labeling processes, as well as their design and formulation. Medications themselves are not always to blame for injury. Many times, a drug alone is not to blame for causing injury. When mixed with other medications, alcohol, or even some foods, certain drugs can have adverse and even deadly effects. If the medication was not labeled properly by your doctor, or you were prescribed multiple medications that interacted, you may be a victim of medical malpractice.
What is a Recall and What Kinds of Drug Recalls Have There Been Recently?
A recall is when a product is removed from the market. Until recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) kept all medication recalls private, but since 2011 the recent recalls on medications and other drugs are posted, so that consumers like you are able to stay informed. Drugs are recalled for a variety of reasons that may not have anything to do with drug itself being dangerous, such as:
- mislabeling —such as incorrect expirations dates, incorrect dosage, or even incorrectly labeling one drug as another
- a lack of assurance of sterility
- visible particulate matter found in injectable medication
- failure to list all ingredients
- bacterial contamination
- mold contamination
- packaging or shipping mixups
Dangerous and defective drugs are a major heath concern for anyone using medication, but especially for those individuals who are prescribed multiple medications. Many drugs are known to cause serious side effects, but those that do not warn of these effects or medications that are pushed onto the market without proper testing could be deadly. There are hundreds of drugs on the market today that have shown possibly dangerous side effects and serious injury including:
- Chantix – smoking cessation drug, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and suicide
- Zocor (simvastatin) – statin drug intended to lower cholesterol; the FDA has called for dose limitations after numerous reports of muscle injury and kidney failure
- Antidepressants (SSRIs) – like Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, have been reported to cause birth defects
- Topamax – anti-seizure medication linked to cleft lip and cleft palate birth deformities
- Crestor – statin drug, linked to heart problems, muscle injury, and kidney damage
- Yaz, Yazmin – oral contraceptive linked to increased risk of heart attack, and blood clot
- Reglan – drug used to treat gastrointestinal problems reportedly caused Tardive Dyskinesia, a movement disorder
- Depakote – anti-seizure medication linked to birth defects like spina bifida
- Accutane – acne medication linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
If you have sustained any of the complaints mentioned, you should see your physician immediately. It is important to note that pharmaceutical negligence is very complicated, each case is different, and different individuals may experience very different side effects from one another. Prosecution of these cases involves a thorough examination of the patient’s injuries in corroboration with clinical studies.
How Our Attorneys May be Able to Help in a Pharmaceutical Drug Liability Claim
If you or someone you love has been catastrophically injured or wrongfully killed because of a dangerous or defective drug, the experienced Pennsylvania dangerous drug attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm may be able to help you through this difficult time. Our Philadelphia product liability attorneys firmly believe that pharmaceutical manufacturers must be held responsible if their negligence or errors cause unjustifiable hardship and pain. While each case is different and unique, we have been successful in recovering compensation for our clients for a wide range of liability claims. In one confidential medical malpractice settlement, we were able to to recover compensation for our client who suffered a brain injury after a prominent hospital wrongly administered narcotic medication. In another case, we were able to recover $110,000 for our client who’s depression medication caused priapism and caused him to undergo surgical intervention.
For over three and a half decades we have advocated for patient and consumer protection, and we have never been afraid to challenge the world’s top pharmaceutical companies when their actions have led to devastating consequences. It is inexcusable for drug companies to sacrifice consumer health and safety for profit, and we will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.
The dangerous drug lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of catastrophically injured and wrongfully killed victims and their families, and have continually set the bar in pharmaceutical liability. Please call our law offices at (215) 709-6940, or contact us online, for your free and confidential consultation.