Do I Still Have a Defective Drug Case if it Came With a Warning?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Gregory H. Herrman with Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C..
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for someone to find themself injured by a product or medication only to wonder if the warning which accompanied that product nullifies their options for recovery. In cases where a warning of some kind was not present, it may seem obvious that the injured party has a case against the manufacturer. However, medications almost always come with a list of warnings including common and severe side effects.
The question in most instances of a potentially defective drug is whether or not the warning that accompanied the drug was accurate and adequate. The rules surrounding what drug manufacturers do and do not have to disclose can be complicated, so it’s important to contact a product liability attorney specializing in defective pharmaceuticals to assess the viability of your case.
Drug warnings may be inadequate.
It’s important to note that just because a medication comes with a warning label does not mean the manufacturer is free from liability. If you suffer an adverse reaction to a medication and the warning label did not mention the specific effects you are experiencing or underplayed the severity of the potential damage to your health, you may have a case for a defective pharmaceutical. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specific requirements regarding what drug manufacturers need to disclose, including intended use for the medicine, dosage information, common adverse reactions, and drug interactions. Similarly, if a drug should not be taken before operating a vehicle due to side effects such as extreme drowsiness or blurry vision, this warning should accompany the medicine.
Drug warnings should communicate the level of risk associated with the drug.
It is not uncommon for drug manufacturers to downplay the health risks associated with their products. If a medicine may invoke serious or life-threatening risks, the FDA requires manufacturers to include a boxed warning to consumers, also referred to as a “black box warning”. These warnings generally appear in a drug’s packaging material written in bold letters and bordered by a black box; this information may communicate rare but serious side effects or mandatory instructions for safe use. In some instances, black box pharmaceuticals have been removed from the market completely after enough people suffered serious side effects and the cons were decided to outweigh the pros of what the medicine offered.
In cases of inadequate or inaccurate drug warning labels, it is not uncommon for many people to experience the same sort of damages.
If you have suffered due to a defective pharmaceutical, it is quite possible that others taking the same medication have experienced the same type of side effects. When this is the case, the injured parties may be eligible to come together and file a class action lawsuit against the drug manufacturer. Often a quick internet search is enough to identify any current investigation into or ongoing litigation for a particular medication.
If you do not see any ongoing litigation for the medication you believe may be defective, it’s important to contact a product liability attorney. These attorneys have access to expert resources who can help identify the make-up of the drug and the risks associated with it, as well as helping to assess whether or not the included warning was accurate and adequate.
Do not throw away the medication.
It’s important to talk to your doctor before stopping or switching prescription medications; your doctor can help you safely switch from a potentially dangerous medicine and can help you explore your options regarding a different medication. However, it is important to maintain possession of the drug. If you believe a medication you have taken is defective, it’s important to preserve the physical medicine as well as any packaging, instructional materials, or warning labels that accompany it. Placing all of these items including the drug itself in a sealed plastic bag or container is paramount to getting to the bottom of your situation and building a successful case if you choose to pursue recovery via a product liability claim.
If you or a loved one suffered due to a potentially defective medication, reach out to a product liability attorney to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.