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When a defective prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication causes injury or death, you can seek compensation through a product liability lawsuit. Today’s medications can save and extend lives, but too many drugs cause unnecessary injuries and death, often because they are released before they are thoroughly tested or because drug maker chooses to hide dangers that it is aware of so that it can profit from a drug.
Drugs Which Have Not Been Recalled
Some defective drugs are recalled, but most are not. Even when a medication is recalled, it is typically after it has caused many injuries and/or deaths. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes action, it is more likely to require label changes than to pull a drug from the market.
You can still have a case, even if the drug which caused your injuries has not been recalled. Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to warn doctors and the people who use their products of the dangerous side effects their drugs can cause. Failure to warn is, in itself, a defect.
Product Liability or Medical Malpractice?
When a pharmaceutical injury occurs, it is common to initially believe medical malpractice has occurred, but malpractice may not have been involved.
When a defective drug has caused the injury, the case is a product liability lawsuit against the drug maker, rather than a medical malpractice case against a doctor or health care professional.
Medication errors, such as prescribing or administering the wrong dose, wrong medication, or an inappropriate medication based on the patient’s condition or medical history, do fall under medical malpractice.
In rare cases, injuries are caused by a defect in labeling leading to medication error. When this occurs, it may be possible to seek compensation under both product liability and medical malpractice.
Examples of Defective Drugs
There are hundreds of defective medications which have caused injuries or death, most of which are still on the market. A few examples of drugs that are known to cause injuries for which you may be entitled to compensation, and some of the injuries they are known for, include:
- Actos – heart failure, bladder cancer, liver problems, bone fracture
- Avandia – heart failure, liver failure, bone fractures
- Darvon/Darvocet – heart rhythm abnormalities, accidental overdose
- Ortho Evra – blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism
- Topamax – birth defects (oral clefts)
- SSRI’s – birth defects
- Chantix – unprovoked violent attacks, suicide, blackouts, depression, anxiety
- Levaquin – tendon and ligament injuries