What Can I Do if Injured by an Unsafe Drug?
When a doctor prescribes you medication or when you go to the grocery store to pick up an over-the-counter medication, you assume it is safe. Unfortunately, 85% of the medicine we take was made overseas. Often in places with little oversight and poor quality control. The companies selling these products, however, are responsible for the products they sell.
And assuming these are sterile and manufactured with the proper formulations doesn’t mean they are safe or effective.
We got into this practice area through the backdoor. As whistleblower lawyers, we represent people who work inside pharmaceutical companies both here and outside the United States. The stories we often hear are shocking. Forged testing records, toxic mold growing inside supposedly sterile clean rooms and drugs being shipped even though they were woefully understrength.
We also heard from pharmaceutical sales reps who tell us of major brand name drugs being marketed to doctors for uses not approved by the FDA or even properly tested.
The whistleblowers we represent work for major drug companies, most of them producing drugs that are familiar household names. Our colleagues overseas tell us even worse horror stories about generics manufactured in third world countries.
Sometimes the suppliers of the active ingredients used in pharmaceuticals are working in open air facilities.
Sometimes the products themselves are defective. These are drugs that cause dangerous side effects. In a few instances, the cure is worse than the disease or condition for which they were prescribed or designed. This is especially bad when the drug companies know about these dangerous side effects and complications yet fail to warn consumers and doctors.
Recent questionable drugs include:
- ABILIFY: side effects may cause compulsive eating and other disorders
- ACTEMRA: May lead to heart failure, lung disease and pancreatitis
- ACTOS: May cause bladder cancer
- AMIODARONE: Lung failure, death
- AVANDIA: May cause birth defects
- BENICAR: Gastrointestinal issues
- BEXTRA: Heart attacks, Strokes… (Let’s just say it can kill you in many ways)
- CONCERTA: Increased suicide risk
- FOSAMAX: Bone fractures
- GADOLINIUM (dye used in MRIs): Fibrosis and serious complications
- GRANUFLO: Cardiac arrest
- INVOKANA: Kidney damage, gangrene, loss of body parts
- LIPITOR: Blood clots, strokes
- NEXIUM (Prilosec / Prevacid): Kidney disease and acute kidney injury
- OPIOIDS: Addiction
- PAXIL: Violent episodes
- PPA: Stroke
- PROPULSID: Cardiac complications
- RATIVA: Fatal inflammation of the brain
- ReGen: FDA Reported adverse reactions
- REGLAN: Uncontrolled facial jerking or twitching
- REZULIN: Liver failure
- RISPERDAL: Male breast growth
- Stem Cell Products injury / adverse reactions
- StemGenex SVP: FDA Warning for possible contamination risk
- TAXOTERE: Permanent and often blotchy hair loss
- TESTOSTERONE: Heart attacks, stroke risk
- TOPAMAX: Child birth defects
- TRASYDOL: Heart attack, kidney failure
- TRUVADA: Kidney failure and osteoporosis
- TYLENOL: Liver damage
- VALSARTAN: Cancer, liver damage
- VIOXX: Heart attacks and strokes
- XARELTO: Internal bleeding sometimes fatal
- ZITHROMAX: Sudden death
- ZOFRAN: Child birth defects
Child birth defects? Sudden death? Cardiac arrest? Loss of body parts? Hair loss? These are side effects – often unreported side effects – from drugs that are supposed to help us.
All drugs have side effects. Even aspirin. Drug companies have a responsibility to make sure that they report known side effects to the FDA and that proper warning labels are in place.
The FDA doesn’t text drugs. It relies on the industry to police itself. If the drug maker doesn’t tell the FDA about side effects, then there is no way for the FDA to evaluate whether a drug is suitable for use and no way for doctors to know what the risks are.
There can’t be any informed consent between the doctor and his or her patients unless the doctor has complete information.
Sometimes long term side effects occur. These are problems with a drug that truly were not known at the time the drug was being developed and tested. Once again, pharmaceutical companies have a duty to immediately alert the FDA.
When they don’t, patients needlessly suffer and sometimes die.
Our mission has long been to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their products. For too long, some companies have placed profits before patients. Our drug injury lawyers combine knowledge, compassion, empathy and aggressive representation. We are passionately committed to our clients and to finding justice.
Typical dangerous drug and pharmaceutical injury claims involve:
- Drugs that were improperly tested
- Adulterated, over potent and sub-potent drugs
- Drugs improperly made (manufacturing and design defects)
- Drugs with hidden side effects or without proper warnings
- Counterfeit medications
- Bad Over-the-counter and generic products
Drug companies often look at these problems as a cost of doing business. Some drug companies actually set aside money to pay claims in case they get caught. They would rather sell as much as they can and make as much profit as possible before recalling a dangerous or defective drug from the market.
Holding big pharma legally accountable for their misdeeds isn’t easy. They are some of the richest companies in the world and can afford expensive lawyers and sleazy experts witnesses
Where is the FDA?
The Food and Drug Administration is not what it once was. Most consumers believe that the Food and Drug Administration tests new drugs before they are released on the market. That is the way the process should work but the pharmaceutical companies successfully lobbied Congress to let the industry police itself. While some companies are very conscientious, many are too busy chasing profits.
Sadly, FDA approval is not a guarantee that a drug has been adequately tested or that the drug is safe and effective. It only means the company provided enough materials to convince the FDA that its product is safe. And drug companies are free to encourage doctors to push their drugs for conditions not even approved by the FDA.
Even if the FDA was properly staffed and had better tools at its disposal, often long term effects are not known for years. When that happens, the company itself usually learns of the problems years before the FDA. If these companies fail to self-report, regulators are left in the dark and don’t even know a problem exists.
Suing a pharmaceutical company can cost one million dollars or more. Experts, lab testing fees, depositions around the world, toxicology studies. You need a lawyer ready to fight and one with experience in taking on corporate giants.
If you’ve been injured by a bad drug, contact us online, by email at or by phone at . Our initial consultations are always without cost or obligation.
How are dangerous drug lawsuits handled? Are they class actions?
Bad drug injury cases are not class actions. Class actions have a bad name these days and deservedly so. You may have received a postcard in the mail or seen an ad saying that as the result of some class action settlement, you are entitled to a coupon worth a few bucks.
Class actions have their place in certain type cases such as consumer cases. They don’t work for bad drug lawsuits, however. To have a class action, everyone must have very similar damages. That is almost never the case in bad drug cases. Everyone’s injuries and losses are different.
In a class action case, everyone usually receives the same compensation. That doesn’t work when lives were lost or serious pain and suffering occurred.
Pharmaceutical injury lawsuits are typically handled as a “mass tort” or “mass joinder” case. A panel of judges across the country (called a multi-district litigation panel or “MDL”) appoints a single judge to corral all the cases together. Each case is filed separately.
To move these cases along and insure that everyone gets access to the same information, the court often appoints a panel of lawyers to conduct discovery and review the millions of pages of documents associated with these cases.
Typically, the court selects a few test cases to go forward. This helps everyone better understand the value of these claims, and whether or not juries believe the products are defective or whether the drug company did something wrong.
In a class action, you follow the herd unless you opt out. In the typical mass tort bad drug case, the court and lawyers will develop likely settlement parameters. Fortunately, each individual plaintiff has the right to refuse the settlement.
The value of each claim is based on many factors. These include:
- Strength of the case.
- Age of the patient.
- Number and severity of symptoms and complications suffered by the patient.
- Future medical needs of the patient.
- Lost wages.
- Did the patient die?
The MDL process helps insure that all stakeholders in the process understand the strengths and weaknesses of the cases and their value and that these cases aren’t stalled for years.
The drug companies can’t try 10,000 cases across the United States nor would there be any uniformity in the results. At the same time, most law firm can’t afford the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to try each case and if they did, there might not be any money left over for the patients once the costs of litigation were paid.
Whether or not the courts consolidate the claims into a single multi-jurisdictional case, we will be with you every step of the way as your case proceeds through the process.
Once again, if you’ve been injured by a dangerous drug, contact us online, by email at or by phone at . Our initial consultations are always without cost or obligation. Cases are handled on a contingent fee basis meaning we only get paid if you win.