According to the Mayo Clinic, almost 70 percent of us are currently taking one of the thousands of prescription drugs on the market, with 20 percent of the population taking five or more pharmaceutical drugs.1 Approximately 100,000 people die from prescription drug use each year.2 The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 290 people in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day.3
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may recall a drug with proven negative side effects, this can take a considerable length of time. Errors in preparation on the part of pharmaceutical corporations may also lead to recalls. The harm done by these pharmaceutical defects can have lasting consequences and may require ongoing medical treatment or rehabilitation and care throughout the lives of patients.
It is challenging to ascertain which pharmaceutical products are safe to use, as some may not have been on the market very long, while others may not have been tested correctly or thoroughly enough. In other cases, pharmaceutical manufacturers may haphazardly and deliberately release a drug into the market that has not been properly tested or has been found to cause substantial health effects.
Generic drug manufacturers may change formulations of previously safe medications, without further testing, causing health issues. Drug manufacturers also attempt to market drugs illegally for “off-label” uses, or purposes other than what they were approved for use, resulting in adverse effects. Several million dollar settlements with major pharmaceutical companies have resulted in this area over the past few years for drugs such as Vioxx, Celebrex, Yaz, Ocella, Yasmin, Heparin, Actos, Avandia, Chantix Enbrel, Fen Phen, Gadolinium, Levaquin (including Avelox and Cipro), Paxil, Reglan, Seroquel, Simvastin/Amiodarone, Tylenol, Zicam and Zelnorm.
In situations like these, manufacturers, testing laboratories, pharmaceutical representatives, doctors, hospitals, clinics and pharmacists can all be legally responsible if patients are harmed by defective pharmaceutical products. Mistakes occurring at the manufacturing facility or pharmacy where the drug was made or bottled, problems that occur during shipping, or an error in labeling, may constitute a defective pharmaceutical.
Please call one of our product liability lawyers if you have been injured by a defective drug, an improperly marketed drug, or by a drug with unreasonably dangerous side effects.
- Null, G PHD. (2011).Death by Medicine. Mount Jackson, VA: Praktikos Books.
- Starfield, B. (2000). The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4. Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.