Unfortunately, sometimes drug manufacturers betray our trust by providing us with products that are dangerous or defective. When that happens, the results can be disastrous. Defective drugs can cause serious complications including illness, worsening illness, or even death.
At Kherkher Garcia, our defective drug attorneys frequently receive calls from clients who believe they have been harmed by a defective drug. These clients have many questions about the defective drug claim process. Below, we offer questions, answers, and insight for anyone interested in how a defective drug claim works.
FAQs about Defective Drug Claims
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions that our team receives about defective drug claims. If you have questions about a defective drug claim, call us for more information.
What is a Defective Drug?
A defective drug is a drug that is unsafe or ineffective because of a manufacturing defect, design defect, or labeling defect. Here are some examples of defective drugs:
- Vioxx was a painkiller that was recalled in 2004 after it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Bextra was another painkiller that was recalled in 2005 after it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication that has been linked to an increased risk of tardive dyskinesia, a serious movement disorder.
- Thalidomide was a sedative that was marketed in the 1950s and 1960s to pregnant women to prevent morning sickness. It was later discovered that thalidomide caused birth defects in thousands of babies.
What Causes Defective Drugs?
Here are some of the common causes of defective drugs:
- Manufacturing Defects: These defects can occur when drugs are not properly manufactured, such as when they are contaminated or when they are not made to the correct specifications.
- Design Defects: These defects can occur when drugs are designed in a way that makes them unsafe, such as when they have too many side effects or when they are not effective.
- Labeling Defects: These defects can occur when the drug’s label does not accurately describe the drug’s risks, side effects, or warnings.
If you have been injured by a defective drug, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. You may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
How do I Know if a Drug is Defective?
There are a few things you can look for to determine if a drug is defective.
- Is the drug new to the market? New drugs are more likely to have defects than older drugs that have been on the market for a long time.
- Have there been any reports of side effects or injuries associated with the drug? If you have heard of other people who have been injured by the drug, it is more likely that the drug is defective.
- Does the drug’s label accurately describe the drug’s risks, side effects, and warnings? If the drug’s label does not accurately describe the risks, side effects, or warnings, it is more likely that the drug is defective.
- Did you experience any unexpected side effects or injuries after taking the drug? If you experienced any unexpected side effects or injuries after taking the drug, it is possible that the drug is defective.
If you are concerned that a drug may be defective, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine if the drug is safe for you to take and can refer you to a lawyer if you believe you have been injured by a defective drug.
Here are some additional signs that a drug may be defective:
- The drug does not work as expected.
- The drug has more side effects than expected.
- The drug interacts with other drugs in a way that is harmful.
- The drug is contaminated.
- The drug is not made to the correct specifications.
If you experience any of these problems with a drug, you should contact your doctor immediately.
What are the Potential Risks and Dangers Associated with Defective Drugs?
Defective drugs can pose significant risks and dangers to individuals who consume them. The specific risks and dangers may vary depending on the nature of the defect and the drug involved. Here are some potential risks and dangers associated with defective drugs:
- Adverse Reactions: Defective drugs may cause severe adverse reactions or side effects that were not anticipated or disclosed by the manufacturer. These reactions can range from mild to life-threatening, including allergic reactions, organ damage, or even death.
- Lack of Efficacy: Some defective drugs may not provide the intended therapeutic effects or may be ineffective in treating the condition for which they are prescribed. This can result in a delay in treatment, progression of the disease, or failure to manage symptoms.
- Contamination: Contaminated drugs may contain harmful substances, impurities, or microorganisms that can cause infections, toxicity, or other adverse effects. Contamination can occur during the manufacturing process, packaging, or distribution.
- Incorrect Dosage or Labeling: Defects in drug labeling or packaging can lead to incorrect dosage instructions, misleading information, or inadequate warnings about potential risks. This can result in improper use, overdosing, or failure to take necessary precautions.
- Drug Interactions: Some defective drugs may interact negatively with other medications, causing harmful interactions or reducing the effectiveness of other treatments. This can lead to complications, treatment failures, or unpredictable reactions.
- Dependence and Addiction: Certain defective drugs, particularly those intended for pain management or mental health conditions, may have addictive properties. If a defective drug is improperly formulated, it may lead to dependence, addiction, or withdrawal symptoms.
- Birth Defects: If a defective drug is consumed during pregnancy, it may pose risks to the developing fetus. Certain medications have been associated with birth defects, developmental abnormalities, or other complications.
- Long-Term Health Consequences: Defective drugs can have long-lasting effects on a person’s health and well-being. Chronic conditions, organ damage, or other irreversible harm may result from the use of a defective drug.
It’s important to consult with healthcare professionals, closely follow product warnings, and report any adverse effects to medical authorities if you suspect a drug to be defective.
What is a Defective Drug Claim?
A defective drug claim is a civil lawsuit filed against a drug manufacturer, distributor, or retailer for damages caused by a defective drug. Defective drug lawsuits can be filed by individuals who have been injured by a drug, or by the families of individuals who have died as a result of a drug.
To win a defective drug lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the drug was defective, that the defect caused the plaintiff’s injury, and that the drug manufacturer, distributor, or retailer was negligent in manufacturing, distributing, or selling the drug.
Defective drug lawsuits can be very complex and expensive to litigate. As a result, many plaintiffs choose to settle their cases with the drug manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
Can I File a Lawsuit if I Have Been Harmed by a Defective Drug?
Most likely, yes. Though it is important to have your case carefully reviewed by an attorney before attempting a lawsuit. Every case is unique, and your ability to pursue compensation will depend on various facts related to your case.
Here are some examples of well-known defective drug lawsuits:
- In 2009, Merck & Co. agreed to pay $950 million to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging that its painkiller Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes.
- In 2012, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.
- In 2019, Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $830 million to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging that its generic painkiller Actavis/Cephalon Actiq caused serious burns.
Who can be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by Defective Drugs?
Several parties can potentially be held liable for injuries caused by defective drugs, depending on the circumstances. The following are some of the parties that could be held accountable:
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturers: The primary responsibility for the safety and efficacy of a drug lies with the pharmaceutical manufacturer. If a drug is found to be defective due to manufacturing errors, design flaws, inadequate testing, or failure to warn about known risks, the manufacturer may be held liable.
- Distributors and Wholesalers: If a drug becomes defective or contaminated during the distribution process, the entities involved in distributing and wholesaling the product may share liability. This can include transportation companies, wholesalers, and any other intermediaries in the supply chain.
- Healthcare Professionals: In some cases, healthcare professionals, such as doctors or pharmacists, may be held liable if they improperly prescribe or dispense a drug, fail to provide adequate warnings or instructions, or negligently administer the medication.
- Testing Laboratories: If a drug’s defects or dangers could have been identified through proper testing, but the testing laboratory failed to detect them, they may be held liable for the resulting injuries.
- Marketing and Advertising Agencies: If a drug’s marketing and advertising materials contain false or misleading information, or if they fail to adequately disclose risks, the agencies involved in creating those materials may be held responsible.
It’s important to note that the specific circumstances of each case will determine who can be held liable for injuries caused by defective drugs.
What Compensation or Damages Can I Seek in a Defective Drug Lawsuit?
If you have been injured by a defective drug, you may be able to recover damages from the drug manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. The types of damages you may be able to recover include:
- Economic Damages: These damages are intended to compensate you for your financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.
The amount of damages you may be able to recover will depend on the severity of your injuries and the specific facts of your case.
Here are some examples of the types of damages that are often awarded in defective drug lawsuits:
- Medical Expenses: In a defective drug lawsuit, the plaintiff may be able to recover the cost of all medical expenses related to the injury, such as hospital bills, doctor’s bills, and prescription drug costs.
- Lost Wages: If the plaintiff was unable to work due to the injury, they may be able to recover lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: The plaintiff may be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the injury. This includes both physical pain and emotional distress.
- Emotional Distress: The plaintiff may be able to recover damages for the emotional distress they experienced as a result of the injury. This includes things like anxiety, depression, and fear.
- Loss of Consortium: If the plaintiff is married, they may be able to recover damages for the loss of consortium they experienced as a result of the injury. This includes things like companionship, affection, and sexual relations.
It is important to note that the amount of damages you may be able to recover will vary depending on the specific facts of your case. If you have been injured by a defective drug, it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for Injuries Caused by a Defective Drug?
The time limit for filing a lawsuit for defective drug injuries, or the statute of limitations, varies from state to state. In general, the statute of limitations for defective drug lawsuits is two to three years from the date of the injury. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the statute of limitations may be extended if the drug manufacturer was aware of the defect but failed to warn consumers about it.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the injury, not the date of the drug’s approval by the FDA. This means that if you were injured by a drug that was approved by the FDA many years ago, you may still have time to file a lawsuit if you were injured within the past two to three years.
Here in Texas, the statute of limitations for defective drug claims, and most other personal injury claims, is two years from the date of the injury.
How Do I Know if I Have a Defective Drug Claim?
The only way to know for sure that you qualify to file a defective drug claim is to speak with a defective drug attorney about your situation. At Kherkher Garcia, we help clients explore their legal rights and the options they may have to pursue compensation for defective drug injuries.
Our attorneys take a careful look at each case to determine the best course of action. We are not afraid to take on even the largest drug manufacturers to get you results. Find out how we can help you by calling us at 713-333-1030.