In today’s society, cutting-edge technology and its associated innovative developments can be both a blessing and a curse. Modern medicine is a good example of this situation. Thanks to advances in science and technology, the pharmaceutical industry produces medicine for almost every ailment that a person in Orange County could possibly have. From the common cold to life-changing diseases like cancer, new medicines are constantly coming on the market to help people who need it.
While advancement in pharmaceuticals is mostly a good thing for people, it does have some drawbacks. Due to their medical condition, some people must take so much medication that they can become completely dependent on it and cannot function properly without their medicine. Another problem is medicine that gets into the hands of consumers too soon and turns out to be unsafe.
Pharmaceutical companies must adhere to all testing and safety requirements from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before selling a drug to consumers. However, this does not necessarily guarantee that the drug is safe. In some cases, it may take months or even years for doctors and patients to see the dangerous consequences of taking new medicine.
Regardless of whether a drug is new on the market or has been in the hands of doctors and consumers for years, a person who suffers injury or illness from a drug may have a legal cause of action. Through a products liability filing, an injured patient can pursue compensation from a negligent manufacturer, as well as other parties who were involved in getting the person to take the drug in question.
Although medicine can save people’s lives and greatly increase their quality of life, it can also lead to injury. Furthermore, even with oversight from the FDA, death from dangerous drugs is still a possibility. Anyone in Orange County who has suffered from a defective drug should understand their legal options. While pharmaceuticals can greatly improve people’s lives, sometimes they can also lead to injury and unnecessary loss of life.
FDA issues warning on potentially fatal prescription drugs
The Food and Drug Administration has renewed warnings to consumers about the potential dangers of the drug acetaminophen, which can be found in Tylenol as well as in prescription pain killers such as Percocet and Vicodin. Regulators say that liver damage can result when patients take even slightly more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen.
In some severe cases taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver failure and even death. The total amount of the drug that adults should take in a 24-hour period is 4,000 milligrams, which sounds like a lot at first glance. However, if someone is taking Extra-strength Tylenol for serious pain, it requires only 8 pills to get to that limit. Imagine the average adult with back pain or arthritis taking two pills at a time, and this could add up quickly to a toxic amount of acetaminophen.
There has been some controversy about this medication in the past, since some have argued that warnings on the label are not sufficient for consumers to understand the serious risks of an overdose. Most consumers believe that taking slightly more than the recommended amount will not be harmful, and that is true with many medications, but not with acetaminophen. Companies are liable for injuries that occur as a result of insufficient warnings.
In addition to the warnings to the public, the FDA is also asking manufacturers of prescription medications that contain acetaminophen to reduce the total amount that is in each pill to help prevent overdoses. Another announcement is expected to be made soon that will pertain to over-the-counter drugs containing acetaminophen.
Some blood pressure meds containing carcinogenic impurity
Many people might not be able to survive without their blood pressure medication, or, at least, not be able to live for as long. Chronic high blood pressure can contribute to an untimely death, and a severe spike in blood pressure is a medical emergency.
This is one reason why a recent set of recalls that now are affecting common blood pressure medications is a scary prospect. According to reports, these medicines contain an important ingredient called valsartan. Valsartan is manufactured in plants all over the world.
Unfortunately, in some of these plants, the drug being provided contains an impurity that is likely to cause cancer. At this point, because of the importance of blood pressure medication to so many, the Food and Drug Administration, which was involved in this recall, does not recommend that people stop taking the drug immediately.
While the most recent recall of this drug is made in India, there have been prior recalls of the same medication that was produced out of China.
The recalls have caused some experts to question whether there has been adequate quality control oversight in plants that produce this drug overseas, as staffing problems and other issues often lead to the taking of shortcuts in the manufacturing process.
In any event, one can only hope that the issue was caught early enough so that relatively few Californians do not wind up in the bind of either going without blood pressure medicine or being exposed to the possibility of cancer. Those who do get hurt because of this or other problems related to drug manufacturing may have the option of filing a products liability case.
Legal protections for victims of dangerous drugs
Many products liability lawsuits involve drugs and medicines because of the potential harm defective and dangerous drugs can cause to victims. Pharmaceutical drugs must be tested according to Food and Drug Administration standards prior to entry into the market. These rules are designed to protect the public, patients and users of the drugs.
Simply because a drug has been through the process involving the FDA does not mean that a drug manufacturer may not be liable for harm caused by the drug. In some instances, the drug manufacturer may have failed to adequately fulfill their duty to warn. Drug manufacturers must warn of potential side effects of the drug. When a victim has been harmed by a dangerous or defective drug, the manufacturer may be liable, based on the circumstances, to compensate the victim for the damages they have suffered.
Victims of defective or dangerous drugs can suffer serious injuries and harm. Likewise, surviving family members of a loved one killed by a dangerous or defective drug may also suffer harm because of the loss of their loved one. Victims may suffer medical expenses, lost wages and emotional damages associated with a dangerous or defective drug. Families may suffer additional damages associated with the death of a loved one because of a dangerous or defective product.
Because of the serious harm dangerous and defective drugs can cause to victims, products liability is an area of the law that protects the public, patients and those that use pharmaceutical drugs. Victims and their families should be familiar with these options when they have suffered harm because of a dangerous or defective drug.
Injury.findlaw.com, “Pharmaceutical Drug Liability,” Accessed Sept. 26, 2017
Daily Mail, “FDA warns that drugs containing acetaminophen doses over 325mg can lead to liver damage and even death,” David McCormack, Jan. 15, 2014.
FindLaw, “Pharmaceutical Drug Liability,” Accessed on Oct. 20, 2015