Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever, with 55 percent of people regularly taking a prescription medicine, according to a 2017 Consumer Reports survey. Out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, many are conditions that may arise because of faulty medicine patients take. Sometimes, the prescriptions drugs and over-the-counter medicines that are supposed to help people are the ones that actually hurt them.
Because pharmaceutical companies are businesses, they don’t always have consumers’ interests at the forefront. Unsafe drugs may be rushed to market. A lack of testing may put users at risk. Even medicines with known dangerous side effects may still be distributed, all so that drug companies make a profit.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious physical injury or even died because of a dangerous prescription drug or over-the-counter medicine, here is what to be aware of with pharmaceutical litigation.
Pharmaceutical litigation involves pursuing a claim against a drug manufacturer that has harmed an innocent victim. Often, there is more than one party involved in these types of claims, and there may be up to thousands of people who may have experienced injuries and serious illnesses because of a type of medicine.
Sometimes, serious injuries or illnesses from medicine can occur long after the medicine was taken. These types of lawsuits require investigation, medical expertise and an advocate who will make sure the credible experts needed are contacted and can provide testimony on behalf of a client.
Examples of Pharmaceutical Litigation
There are several types of pharmaceutical litigation the Birmingham pharmaceutical lawyer team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is currently involved with. Here are a couple examples.
Mylan EpiPen Auto-Injector Lawsuit
The Mylan EpiPen and EpiPen, Jr., are auto-injector devices used in emergency treatments for life-threatening allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis. Hundreds of complaints have been brought forward claiming the devices have failed to activate properly, resulting in severe injuries and, in some cases, patient deaths.
Despite complaints, the manufacturer, Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc., is accused of failing to conduct a timely investigation of the cause of the faulty products. Only after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration began an investigation did Meridian recall the products.
Tasigna Cancer Medication Lawsuit
A leukemia drug called Tasigna (also known as nilotinib) has been linked to coronary artery disease, serious vascular side effects and patient death. Its use has also been associated with life-threatening kidney issues, limb amputation and heart problems.
Tasigna’s manufacturer, Novartis International AG, is currently facing lawsuits by patients claiming despite knowing these risks, Novartis failed to conduct adequate medical studies.
These are just two current pharmaceutical lawsuits in progress. Reasons why a pharmaceutical lawsuit may be filed include:
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer was negligent in testing
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer knew risks of a product but released it anyway, or without adequate warnings
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer ignored patient or medical provider complaints about a product and failed to investigate issues
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer knowingly used harmful and toxic ingredients without full disclosure to providers and patients
- The conditions in which a pharmaceutical drug was manufactured were unsafe and put the drug’s purity at risk
When there is evidence that a pharmaceutical manufacturer was negligent and put patients in danger for injuries or death, a claim can help secure compensation for victims and protect other patients.
What Are Warning Signs of Pharmaceutical Negligence?
With any pharmaceutical drug a patient takes, the patient should discuss all risk factors thoroughly with their medical provider, especially when the patient is taking other kinds of prescription drugs or has a noteworthy medical history. Upon correctly taking medication, some warning signs of pharmaceutical negligence include:
- The patient has developed health issues such as organ injuries, liver damage or respiratory problems
- The patient took the prescribed or over-the-counter medicine exactly as directed yet developed a serious condition
- The medical issue that developed was not part of the warning on the prescribed or over-the-counter medicine
Patients who have experienced complications from medicine should contact their physician immediately to get a recommendation about whether or not to continue use of the drug. The physician can help to prescribe a replacement to keep the patient safe.
The patient should also contact a pharmaceutical lawyer. Drug companies unfortunately do not always put the patients’ health and safety before their own profit. Some companies that are facing multiple lawsuits or that want the cases to go away quickly will offer a settlement that is far too low compared to the suffering of the victim or victims.
A pharmaceutical attorney will be able to fight big pharmaceutical companies and help victims obtain compensation for damages. Most pharmaceutical lawyers, like the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums team, will offer a free no-obligation consultation. Please contact us if we can help you.