If you’ve suffered harm due to a prescription drug that was supposed to help you, you’re likely frustrated and in a lot of pain. You’re probably also confused. You want justice, but you’re not sure how to go about getting it. The first thing you should do is to get in touch with a lawyer that handles prescription drug lawsuits as soon as possible to learn more about your potential legal options.
McEwen Law Firm attorneys have a deep understanding of these kinds of cases and a great deal of experience as well. Not only do we know how to help people who have been hurt by defective drugs, but also medical devices. Our team of experts will tell you exactly what we may be able to do for you. Just give us a call at (800) 732-3070 or contact us online for a free consultation.
The following is a look at eight prescription drug lawsuit facts that you might be surprised to learn.
1. 1,279 Drugs are Recalled Each Year
It’s almost astounding to know more than 1,200 drugs have been recalled each year since 2012. You might have assumed there would have been that many drug recalls over the last 50 years, but every year? That’s incredible – but that’s also the truth.
So, what, exactly, is the purpose of a recall? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues recalls when there is evidence that a drug can pose harm to those who take it. Once the FDA does this, the company that manufactured the drug will typically take it off of the market.
2. New Prescription Drugs Have a 1 in 5 Chance of Causing Serious Reactions
If you choose to take a prescription drug that has only recently been made available, you have a 20% chance of suffering serious harm. That’s incredibly scary, and most people have no idea that’s the case. As a result, many experts suggest that people do not take a new drug for at least five years unless it’s absolutely necessary.
More than 800,000 people receive drugs that cause severe reactions – these include not only new drugs but also well-established options. Nearly 130,000 of them die. In fact, prescription drug deaths are the fourth-leading cause of fatalities. About as many people die in this manner as die due to strokes.
3. The FDA Does Not Conduct Safety Tests on New Prescription Drugs
You might think that the government agency most closely associated with protecting the public from defective drugs would test them before granting approval. But that’s not the case at all. The FDA places the responsibility of testing on the pharmaceutical company making the drug. The FDA receives the testing information, and physicians, chemists, pharmacologists, and other experts review it.
4. There are Three Types of Product Liability
In prescription drug lawsuits, there are three kinds of liability that negligent manufacturers can face. Here’s a quick look at each.
- Defective manufacturing – This is the most common form of a product liability claim. Defective manufacturing is when an error occurs during the production process.
- Defective design – While defective manufacturing claims typically involve a specific item – such as the bottle of cough syrup mentioned above – defective design would encompass the entire production line. All of the drugs produced using the design are harmful, even if they were manufactured perfectly.
- Failure to warn – This basically involves the marketing of the drug. The cough syrup’s product label, for instance, may not have provided any warning of a possible severe reaction if taken in conjunction with aspirin or some other commonly-used medication.
5. The Drug Probably Won’t be Banned Because of Your Lawsuit
You might assume that if a pharmaceutical drug lawsuit is successful, the manufacturer would immediately have to stop making that drug. But that’s not so. It’s far more likely that the company will have to temporarily halt distribution until it adjusts its manufacturing process or its marketing efforts.
6. Prescription Drug Lawsuits Take a Long Time to Resolve
If you’re considering legal action, it will be important you realize up front that it will likely take years for your case to come to a conclusion. These are very complicated forms of litigation, and it takes a long time for them to move through the court system. If the pharmaceutical company agrees to a settlement, that could obviously make things go much faster. But the negotiation process can take a long time as well.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t make any financial plans until you learn more about the specifics of your case from your attorney.
7. Pharmaceutical Class Action Lawsuits Have Resulted in Billions of Dollars in Settlement Offers
There are many instances where pharmaceutical companies have paid astronomical amounts of money in order to bring class action lawsuits to a close. These are just a few examples.
- GlaxoSmithKline/$3 billion – GSK settled a case in 2012 after being guilty of promoting prescription drugs in an unlawful manner. Those drugs included Avandia, Paxil, and Wellbutrin. The company also failed to report critical safety data to the FDA.
- Takeda/$2.4 billion – This case involved the diabetes drug Actos. Takeda was guilty of trying to hide the potential risks of bladder cancer associated with using the medication.
- Pfizer/$2.3 billion – Pfizer illegally promoted some of their drugs. Then they paid to settle civil liabilities and criminal fines. Pfizer promoted several drugs in an illegal manner, including an anti-inflammatory medication known as Bextra. They took Bextra off of the market in 2005 for safety concerns.
8. Responsibility Can Fall on Multiple Parties
You can take action against the pharmaceutical company and others that played a role in helping you take the drug even though they knew it could cause harm. This includes the pharmacy where you picked up the medication and the doctor who prescribed it. Also, the testing lab that approved the drug for use.