A defective drug claim falls under the tenets of product liability laws and sometimes involves medical malpractice law. Pharmaceutical companies have a duty to design drugs that perform as described and to disclose potential side effects. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully monitors the pharmaceutical industry and requires drug manufacturers to produce their medications safely and to accurately market them.
FDA regulation of pharmaceuticals extends from a drug or device’s design and testing to production, marketing, and prescription for use. Several factors contribute to a defective drug case in the realm of product liability, including:
Defective or dangerous drug cases sometimes fall under medical malpractice law when physicians incorrectly prescribe drugs to their patients, inadequately explain proper use and dosages, or fail to warn them of any potential risks. A product liability claim against a drug may involve the manufacturer, the testing facilities responsible for quality control, the distributors, or the doctors who prescribed the drug.
Certain medical conditions require treatment with “unavoidably dangerous” drugs. This means the drug can adversely affect the health of patients even when used correctly. Although the drug may harm the patient, it still provides beneficial treatment for a specific condition. These drugs require very detailed warnings and responsible marketing, and the physicians prescribing them must do so as safely as possible.
Physicians who improperly use an unavoidably dangerous drug or misdiagnose their patient are liable for medical malpractice. They have a duty of care to provide effective and safe medical care without harming their patients, and misusing a dangerous drug qualifies as malpractice. Improper prescriptions or using drugs under the wrong conditions can be fatal.
The manufacturer is responsible for informing buyers of the intended usages of its drugs, the potential risks they carry, and how they may adversely interact with other drugs or certain medical conditions. If the pharmaceutical manufacturer fails to warn doctors of the risks involved with the drug, the company can be held accountable for any resulting patient injuries.
Since defective drug laws fall under product liability, the plaintiff must prove:
Proving negligence in a product liability case is crucial, but pharmaceutical companies are well aware of the dangers that may accompany their products and are prepared to handle claims made against their products. Drug manufacturers usually retain in-house legal professionals to ensure they are protected from potential lawsuits. This is why it is essential for anyone injured by defective medications to seek competent and experienced legal counsel.
Defective drug cases can be extraordinarily complicated. Sweeney Merrigan Law has extensive experience with all forms of product liability claims, and we know how to handle defective drug law. Contact our team of legal experts to begin discussing a case today.