Identifying Dangerous Medications
The United States spends much more per capita on prescription drugs than other developed nations do, according to a multi-national study published by the European Journal of Clinical Investigation in March 2013. In fact, the study found that brand-name drug prices in the U.S. are considerably higher as well. One review of the study also noted that the market deceives patients “into taking drugs they do not need, that do not work and even put lives at risk.”
It typically takes time and a large sample of users to identify the dangerous side effects of a newly developed drug. Pharmaceutical manufacturers that rush prescription drugs to the market without adequate testing have failed their legal duty to market safe products. If they ignore or downplay evidence that a drug may be dangerous, they are just as liable for any harm their product causes.
Potentially dangerous drugs are often identified through independent studies. When the results of these studies are reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the regulating body in our country, they sometimes lead to FDA orders directing prescription drug manufacturers to:
- Change how they promote certain drugs
- Add warnings to packages
- Advise physicians of the need to closely monitor patients’ use of the drug
In the worse cases, an FDA recall notice will direct a manufacturer to remove the drug from the market, but this is often too late for many people who have already been harmed.
Bubalo Law PLC assists individuals and families who have been harmed by dangerous prescription drugs. We investigate and accept cases involving numerous medications that have been cited by the FDA and/or independent studies for their dangerous side effects. You should know that a medication does not have to be recalled for a manufacturer to be held liable.
Our Experience in Large Drug Cases
At Bubalo Law PLC, our experienced drug injury lawyers have represented individuals and families in hundreds of lawsuits against manufacturers. Some of the high-profile drug cases we have handled include:
a combination of fenfluramine (“fen”) and phentermine (“phen”) prescription medications approved separately for use as short-term appetite suppressants. Many doctors combined the two drugs and prescribed them for long-term use in the 1990s, but studies found that fen-phen caused heart damage and/or primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), an incurable disease scarring the internal vasculature of the lungs and increasing the blood pressure in the lungs to dangerous levels.
a chemotherapy drug that causes permanent hair loss. Taxotere’s manufacturer knew the damage this drug could cause but failed to warn patients. To make matters worse, Taxotere was not any more effective at fighting cancer than other medications that do not cause permanent hair loss.
a drug used to treat gastroesophogeal reflux disease, also known as “acid reflux.” Reglan was linked to a several conditions that cause involuntary repetitive movement, including tardive dyskinesia, dystonia, akathisia and pseudoparkinsonism.
birth control products, which were linked to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If blood clots or DVTs break free and lodge in the heart or lungs (pulmonary embolism), they can cause heart attack or stroke.
which is used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Paxil has been linked to Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN), which is a destructive condition affecting the heart and lungs of newborn infants.
which was provided to tens of thousands of kidney dialysis patients across the country but has been linked to sudden cardiac arrest, injury and death among patients. Evidence indicates that Granuflo’s manufacturer, Fresenius Medical Care North America, knew its products posed a deadly risk to patients but kept the dangers a secret, without adequately instructing doctors and healthcare providers on how to use Granuflo in a way to avoid this harm.
including Prempro, Premphase, Premarin, Provera, and other estrogens and progestins. Hormone replacement therapy has been linked to breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, auto-immune disease, ovarian cancer and gallbladder cancer.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the types of dangerous prescription drug cases our law firm has handled in the past or is currently accepting. No matter what type of drug you have been harmed by, our attorneys are here to discuss what has happened and how we may be able to help.
Common Causes of Drug Injuries
Despite the federal regulations in place to protect consumers from harmful drugs, there are many ways in which serious injuries can occur from medications that were deemed “safe.” Some of the more common causes of dangerous drug injuries include:
- A failure to warn of side effects or other important information, whether on the part of the manufacturer or the drug sales representative
- Lack of sufficient testing to identify problems that may occur over time or in a particular segment of the population
- Off-label prescriptions from doctors who want to use the medication to treat conditions that it has not been approved to treat
- Unexpected drug reactions and side effects that occur when patients are taking drugs as prescribed
- Negligence on the part of a drug manufacturer who was reckless in producing or testing the medication
A failure to investigate reports of problems or failure to recall the drug when the dangers have become clear
What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed by a Prescription Drug
There are several steps you should take to protect your health and your rights if you believe you have been harmed by a prescription drug:
See a doctor immediately. The doctor can assess and treat the side effects you are experiencing, as well as determine your options for changing medications.
Keep the medication as well as the packaging or bottle. The doctor may need this, and it can be used as evidence later in your legal claim.
Report your problem to the FDA. File an adverse event report through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch database. This will help the FDA track problems related to the medication.
Contact an attorney right away. Our legal team will want to begin building evidence in your case as soon as possible, and your decision to act could save others from the harm you have experienced.