You have probably heard about cases where victims are injured or even killed by the drugs they are prescribed or the medical devices that are used to heal their ailments. Reading and hearing about these cases can often be more unsettling than reading about other types of accidental injury and death because we have an intrinsic trust in our doctors and the prescriptions they write to help us recover from injuries and illnesses. The truth is that although our doctors have our best interest in mind, the drugs they prescribe can sometimes have dangerous side effects. In certain cases, these side effects are not discovered until years after the drug has been in use.

One recent example of a high profile dangerous drug is Levaquin, an antibiotic frequently prescribed in the United States. The drug has been linked to tendon disorders, particularly tendonitis, in its users. Dr. Charles Bennett of the University of South Carolina filed two citizen petitions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the drug, one asking for a warning regarding its mitochondrial toxicity and another requesting a warning about its peripheral neuropathy. When a drug or a medical device is found to be harmful to its users, the drug or device’s manufacturer may be liable for victims’ damages. This type of personal injury claim is known as a defective medical device or a defective drug claim.

Examples of Recent Dangerous Drug Cases

A few recent examples of dangerous drug claims in the United States include:

  • Xarelto. Xarelto is an anticoagulant given to patients at risk of developing dangerous blood clots. It also puts patients at risk of uncontrolled bleeding and is the subject of nearly 6,000 dangerous drug claims; and
  • Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella. These birth control pills have been linked to gallbladder irregularities and deep vein thrombosis. In 2015, a settlement for $56.9 million was reached for victims of these side effects.

Filing a Dangerous Drug Claim

Drug manufacturers are liable for their products, just like any other manufacturer. If you have suffered an injury or a worsened medical condition because of a defective drug, you may file a product liability claim with the drug’s manufacturer. This is also true if you are a surviving spouse, parent, child, or other dependent of an individual who died as a result of using a dangerous drug or medical device.

With a dangerous drug claim, it is important to determine the type of claim you have before you proceed with a dangerous drug lawyer. Dangerous drug claims fall into three categories:

  • Defectively manufactured drugs. These are drugs that were somehow tainted or incorrectly manufactured, which caused them to be dangerous to users. This issue can be traced to the drug’s manufacturing plant, the party responsible for packaging the drug, or the party responsible for labeling the drug. In short, if the issue has to do with the drug itself not working the way it should, it is a defectively manufactured drug claim;
  • Dangerous side effects. When a drug works as it should in patients’ bodies but causes them to suffer harmful side effects, a claimant may have grounds for a dangerous side effects claim. For example, if the use of a drug puts a patient at an increased risk of heart attack, this may be deemed to be a dangerous side effect. Sometimes, dangerous side effects are not caught because drugs are rushed through the clinical trial stage and in other cases, the manufacturer is aware of the product’s dangerous side effect but attempted to conceal it; and
  • Improperly marketed drugs. In cases like this, a drug is marketed to the public without adequate warning of its side effects or instructions for its safe use.

Various parties may be liable for a victim’s damages in a dangerous drug claim as well. In addition to the drug’s manufacturer, a distributor of the drug or the patient’s doctor may be held liable for the patient’s damages if the patient can prove that either of these parties were negligent. For example, if the patient suffered an injury because his or her doctor did not adequately explain the correct use of a drug or device, the doctor may be liable and face a medical malpractice claim. If a particular batch of a drug was recalled due to being tainted and a distributor did not return the drug to the manufacturer, the distributor may be held liable for a victim’s damages. Other parties that could be deemed to be negligent in a dangerous drug or medical device claim include the product’s testing laboratory, the patient’s pharmacy, or the hospital staff involved with the patient’s use of the drug or product.

As with other types of liability claim, the claimant must prove that his or her damages were directly caused by the use of the dangerous drug or medical product. This can be done by providing evidence such as copies of his or her medical record. Your attorney can help you obtain this evidence as well as other pieces of evidence that can be critical to supporting your claim, such as testimonies from expert witnesses.

Work with an Experienced Columbia Dangerous Drug Attorney

Sometimes, the drugs that are meant to help us end up causing us to suffer injuries or even lose loved ones. If you have lost a loved one to a dangerous drug or suffered the harmful side effects of such a drug, you could be entitled to monetary compensation for your damages through a dangerous drug claim. There are many elements at play in every dangerous drug claim that is filed, which is why it is in your best interest to work with an experienced dangerous drug attorney to file and pursue your claim. To learn more about this process and to get started on your claim, contact our team of Columbia dangerous drug attorneys at Joye Law Firm to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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