Who is Liable for Damages in a Prescription Drug Lawsuit?
October 23, 2015
Prescription drugs are supposed to help the people who take them, and usually they do. Sometimes, however, pharmaceutical drugs make patients worse. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a prescription drug, you may have the basis for a lawsuit.
product liability claim – with a few elements that are unique to prescription drugs. Typically, these types of claims are based on one of three premises:
- The drug was manufactured with defects
- The drug had dangerous side effects
- The drug was improperly marketed
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What the Different Types of Prescription Drug Claims Mean
Each one of the aforementioned claims can be the basis of a lawsuit, although many suits are a combination of claims.
Defective Manufacturing. This type of claim asserts that the plaintiff was injured by a pharmaceutical drug, and that their injury was caused by a manufacturing error or a supply that became tainted. It may have been a problem that occurred during shipping or through labeling. Put simply, these claims are for defects that occur before the drug reaches the pharmacy where you purchased it.
Dangerous Side Effects. This category deals with prescription drugs that were manufactured correctly, but still
had side effects that resulted in injury. Sometimes, these suits involve drugs that were pushed to market before the side effects were known. In other instances, these claims assert that the drug manufacturer knew the risks, but distributed the drug to the public anyway—deliberately hiding the danger from its own customers.
Improper Marketing. “Marketing” refers to the label, warnings, and/or recommendations of a particular pharmaceutical drug. Injuries that are caused by failing to adequately or accurately warn a patient of the side effects, or injuries caused by failing to give proper instructions for safe use fall into this category.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
Different parties can be held liable for different claims. For example, a manufacturer would probably be held responsible for any defects in the drug. A pharmacist, however, might be liable for failing to provide a consultation to a patient on the dangerous side effects of a drug.
When considering who should be held liable in a prescription drug claim, you should consider the chain of distribution that resulted in your injury.
Manufacturer. Drug manufacturers are often the targets of ongoing transvaginal mesh claim against Boston Med and other major drug companies. These are large companies with high-powered legal teams, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be held accountable.
Testing Labs. All drugs must be tested before going to market. Claims against a manufacturer could also be levied against the labs that tested the drug, especially if they are independent of the manufacturer.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives. Drug companies often encourage medical professionals to use a certain drug through sales reps. If the drug the sales representative was pushing was the one that harmed you, they could be held liable in your claim.
Doctors. As they are part of the chain of distribution, doctors can also be held liable in these cases. If the doctor misdiagnosed your injury and prescribed the wrong medicine, or if they failed to warn you of side effects, they could be held accountable.
Hospitals. As a company, hospitals plan a role in the distribution of pharmaceutical drugs, and thus can be held liable in a claim.
Pharmacy. As the final point in the chain of distribution, pharmacists have a duty to provide consultations that accurately inform you of how to properly use the drug. If they fail to do so, they could be a defendant in your personal injury claim.
If you or someone you love has been injured or made sick by a prescription drug, you may be entitled to compensation. But these kinds of claims are incredibly complicated, and you can be sure that the other side will spare no expense to protect themselves. For the best chance at getting fair and just compensation, contact us today.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.