The drugs that a patient takes should be reasonably safe and effective. A consumer should not be subject to defective drugs that have dangerous ingredients, manufacturing errors or marketing flaws. Unfortunately, hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications are recalled for defects each year. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective drug, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, depending on the circumstances.
What Is a Drug Recall?
A drug recall is an action taken by a pharmaceutical manufacturer or company to remove a defective drug from the market. It is a notice given to the public to remove a drug that contains potentially dangerous product defects from the shelves. A recall will go to all known physicians who prescribed the drug and patients who received the drug. It may include recommendations for what to do as a patient, such as talking to your doctor before quitting the drug or safely disposing of the drug.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration keeps a running list of the most recent drug recalls. Some drugs are recalled due to improper labeling, such as a box that does not list all known side effects of taking the drug. Others are recalled for potentially dangerous ingredients, contaminants or manufacturing mistakes. Some of the top pharmaceutical companies in terms of the number of drug recalls are Aidapak Services, Attix Pharmaceuticals, King Bio Inc. and The Compounding Pharmacy of America.
Injuries Caused by Dangerous Drugs
A defective drug can inflict severe harm on a patient. The patient might not receive the medication that he or she needs to treat a serious medical condition. The patient could also experience new health problems because of the defective drug, such as internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, stroke, organ damage, organ failure or seizures. If the drug was contaminated with other ingredients, a patient could also suffer a fatal allergic reaction or adverse drug interaction.
Medical Malpractice vs. Product Liability Lawsuit
For all of the injuries (and medical expenses and losses connected to them), a patient in Pennsylvania can pursue financial compensation with a civil lawsuit. The type of lawsuit available will depend on the circumstances. A patient will only have the right to file a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawsuit for a defective drug if the tort or act of wrongdoing occurred between the physician and his or her patient.
A medical malpractice claim seeks to hold a doctor or hospital responsible for breaching the medical industry’s standards of patient care. If a doctor is responsible for a patient injury or death due to a medication error, such as negligently or knowingly prescribing a recalled drug, the doctor can be held liable with a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice lawsuit may also be available if the physician did not warn the patient of known risks connected to taking the drug.
If the elements of the case focus more on the defective drug at the manufacturing stage, however, an injured patient may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit instead. An investigation is often necessary to identify the source of the patient’s injury, illness or death. If the victim’s injuries were caused by a drug that contained a design, manufacturing or marketing defect, the victim may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical manufacturer or distributor rather than his or her physician.
Speak to an Attorney Today
Finding out that you have been taking a defective or recalled drug is frightening. The best thing that you can do to protect your legal rights is to consult with an attorney in Philadelphia as soon as possible. An attorney can analyze your case to let you know if you have grounds to bring a medical malpractice and/or product liability lawsuit for the recalled drug. Then, your lawyer can guide you through the legal process to pursue the justice and financial compensation that you need to move forward.