Who Is Responsible for Drug-Related Injuries?
Whenever an individual acts as a consumer, and purchases a product, he/she does it with the understanding that the product is safe for its intended use. And, in most instances, this assumption is correct. However, there are always exceptions, and injuries do occur from defective products. In these cases, retaining the services of an experienced Miami product liability attorney can be crucial to ensuring that the costs associated with any injuries are reimbursed by the responsible party. One of the more serious product defects involves pharmaceuticals. Given their invasive nature (i.e., that they are ingested), defective pharmaceuticals can obviously do more than minor damage – they can cause medical conditions which, if not treated properly and immediately, can result in death. In fact, as this article illustrates, millions of Americans may have been exposed to carcinogens in popular heart medications, leading to an estimated 2000 lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company.
As discussed above, legal actions involving defective products are brought under the legal theory of product liability. Product liability is a specialized area of negligence, in which the manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and other entities who make products available to the public are held responsible for any injuries those products cause. Typically, product liability actions manifest in one of the following three ways:
- Manufacturing defects, which are those that occur in the manufacturing process, affecting a relatively small number of products, and usually involve poor-quality materials or shoddy workmanship, which is determined at the time of manufacture of the product, as opposed to at the time of injury;
- Design defects, which occur when the design of the product is inherently dangerous, no matter how carefully manufactured, and usually affects a relatively large number of products; and
- Failure-to-warn defects, which arise in products that carry an inherent but nonobvious danger, which would normally be reduced through warnings to the consumer, but cause an issue when the warnings are not given.
Pharmaceutical companies, that is, manufacturers of medications, are responsible for making medications that are as safe as possible. Accordingly, pharmaceutical companies are required to test the medications thoroughly as part of obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell and market a product. As part of this testing, the pharmaceutical companies must warn anyone who could come into contact with the medication – from pharmacists, physicians and other medical professionals, as well as the end user, about any safety concerns and issues associated with the medications, as well as any and all side effects. The failure to appropriately and thoroughly test these medications, as well as to warn of any possible side effects, can be the basis for a product liability lawsuit.
Additionally, and in light of these parameters, other ways in which a pharmaceutical company can be held liable include the following:
- A showing that the testing was not conducted long enough to determine any long-term side effects;
- A showing that the medication was approved with minimal testing because it was similar to another medication already on the market; and
- Manufacture of the medication in a facility that does not require FDA approval.
Seek Legal Advice
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of a pharmaceutical which was improperly manufactured or is otherwise defective in any way, contact the experienced product liability attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have years of experience in product liability matters, and will use this to your advantage. If, after analyzing your case, we believe that a cause of action exists against any other party, we will commit all their resources to ensure that you receive just compensation. Contact our Miami office today for an initial consultation.