Medications are supposed to make us feel better, not worse. When we pop these pills, we expect that in just a little bit – sometimes even as few as 15 minutes – we will feel the effects of relief. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves besieged by side effects or overcome by medications entirely.
Despite rigorous testing, unsafe drugs do sometimes make it to the public market. Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars every year pushing medications to pharmacy shelves, and it is in their interest to get them there as fast as possible. This means that, occasionally, something will slip through.
On the flip side, there are unscrupulous individuals who push medications for other financial gain.
Florida in particular has gained a reputation for “pill mills,” which are doctors, clinics and pharmacies that write excessive scripts for opioids and other drugs for inappropriate or non-medical reasons. This is a separate issue, but one that is quite prevalent in the Sunshine State.
A pharmaceutical injury occurs when an individual takes a medication that is defective, is told by a medical professional to take the incorrect dosage of a safe drug, or is prescribed the wrong medication by his or her doctor.
Each of these instances is grounds for filing a pharmaceutical liability case.
A person can suffer from various types of injuries when it comes to unsafe drugs, especially if he or she is not informed about the proper dosage or dangerous side effects.
These are some (but not all) of the injuries that can occur:
Wondering if a drug you are taking is the subject of a current lawsuit?
Defective drug cases typically fall under product liability cases.
Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals have a responsibility to consumers to make their medications as safe as possible, meaning that the drugs have to be subjected to rigorous testing methods before being released to the public stream of commerce.
Drug manufacturers also have a duty to warn doctors, pharmacists and other health industry professionals about potential concerns or issues that patients might have with the medications. Failure to do this can mean additional liability, and it could be grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer.
There are a few different types of product liability cases when it comes to defective pharmaceuticals:
Any hand in the chain of custody from the manufacturer to the consumer can technically be held liable. This means it isn’t just the manufacturers that are responsible for a dangerous drug liability claim. These parties can include:
The first thing you should do if you believe you are taking a defective medication is to speak with your doctor. That way, a professional is monitoring your symptoms and can make sure you do not need to be hospitalized. (Of course, if your doctor was the one who prescribed the wrong dosage in the first place, then at least you have it recorded for your lawsuit before you head to the emergency room.)
In Florida, pharmacists are considered “learned professionals” and any claims against them have a two-year statute of limitations. Meanwhile, product liability claims have a more general four-year statute of limitations. This can be tricky to remember, so don’t let it sneak up on you.
Pharmaceutical cases, like any product liability case, can be hard to prove. You must illustrate the following:
You used the medication correctly: Yes, it’s obvious, but you have to show that A.) You used the drug and B.) You used it right. Was it an oral medication that you accidentally took as a suppository? Yeah, that’s gross, but it’s happened. If you do not use the medication in the way that it was intended to be used, your case may be tossed out before you even get in the door.
You were injured: You must illustrate that you suffered injuries. Medical records or your doctor’s testimony can show this.
You were not warned about the medication’s dangers: Were you unaware that the drug in question could cause the side effects that you suffered? Were you not properly warned? This is imperative.
The medication in question actually caused the injury: Now you have to tie everything together. Your attorney can help you with this.
A case like this is going to need lots of help. Scientists, medical experts and other professionals will need to weigh in so that you can prove your case, and that will be difficult if you don’t have someone in your corner.
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies have a lot of resources at their disposal. They fight, and they fight hard. Having an attorney helping you will give you strength and confidence. Also, lawyers understand the complexities of investigating these sorts of cases, how to work with the other side and how to find the best experts. It’s a no-brainer.
Consider sitting down with one of Enjuris’ Florida attorneys, who are well-versed in this area. Pharmaceutical liability is not something you want to go alone.