When doctors prescribe medications and pharmacists fill prescriptions, most patients do not think about the safety of the drug they are about to take. They assume that drug manufacturers have conducted thorough testing, doctors have put careful and competent thought into prescribing medicines, that pharmacists are handing them the correct medication, and that the Food and Drug Association (‘FDA’) approved the drug, so they feel safe taking the medicine.
Unfortunately, as pharmaceutical attorneys know, even when drugs are approved by the FDA, it does not necessarily mean that the drugs are safe. The FDA only has so much time and so many resources to discover dangerous side effects in drugs and manufacturers are supposed to bear the major burden of testing and product safety assurance. It often happens that the FDA only issues drug recalls after a number of people have been harmed, so some innocent people have to suffer injuries before it is determined that the drug is not safe.
Injuries from pharmaceutical complications
Injuries from pharmaceutical complications, defects, or side effects can be very serious, especially when the person taking the medicine had no knowledge or warning of possible injuries. See below for some possible pharmaceutical injuries and side effects.
- Heart attack
- Suicidal thoughts
- Organ damage
- Memory loss
- Blood clots
- Birth defects
When pharmacists, drug manufacturers, and doctors make mistakes and fail to protect consumers, drug complications and injuries may result. Liability in pharmaceutical cases generally falls on a prescribing doctor, pharmacist, or drug manufacturer as described in more detail below.
- Prescribing doctors may be responsible for drug injuries for several reasons such as failing to fully inform patients of all of the risks and injuries before the patient consents to taking the prescription. Doctors may also be responsible for failing to review a patient’s medical history to discover that the medication was not appropriate for the patient. They may also be liable for prescribing an incorrect medication for the patient’s condition or for prescribing an incorrect dosage.
- Pharmacists may be liable for dispensing an incorrect medication or incorrect dosage. They may also be responsible for failing to warn patients of harmful interactions the drug may have with the patient’s other medications.
- Drug manufacturers may be responsible for drugs that have led to injuries for failing to properly research and test drugs before making them available on the pharmaceutical market. They may also be liable for failing to issue warnings regarding the side effects of the drugs and for attempting to hide dangerous drug side effects from the public. Manufacturing errors or pharmaceutical formula errors causing injuries to innocent patients may lead to manufacturer liability as well.