Strong Advocates
For the Injured And For A Safer Iowa

10 Facts About Prescription Drug Lawsuits

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2020 | Defective Products |

One difficult part of personal injury law is winning compensation from dangerous prescription drug lawsuits. Typically, these lawsuits fall under product liability laws. These cases are challenging due to the sheer amount of resources that pharmaceutical companies have to defend themselves with. Bad drug lawsuits are also very complicated due to distribution chains, drug regulations, and previous case rulings. This can make it hard for the plaintiff to sue the right party. 

Working with a trained and experienced product liability attorney will help you build an effective case against big pharmacy companies. If you are considering taking action against a pharmaceutical company, here are ten things you should know ahead of time.

1. Don’t Take On Prescription Drug Lawsuits Alone

In certain cases, plaintiffs may seek a class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. What this means is a group of injured persons with similar cases band together in order to file their claim. Class action prescription drug lawsuits usually also involve multiple dangerous drug lawyers from different firms. 

Together, the plaintiffs and involved lawyers designate representatives to manage the case in court. This allows the case to proceed more rapidly than if all of the affected parties were to be present during the court proceedings.

Should a class action lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies or one company succeed, the damage amount will be awarded and divided among the class. The court, lead plaintiff(s), and lead suit lawyer will determine how the damages are awarded.

2. There are Three Kinds of Product Liability

Most prescription drug lawsuits will fall under product liability laws. The specific liability will be different from case to case, but there are three common types of defects that trigger liability laws. 

These main defects are marketing defects, manufacturer defects, and design defects.

Marketing defects usually come from companies mislabeling products or not including proper instructions on the label. Cases of this nature are commonly called failure to warn cases. 

Other additional warnings that marketers are responsible for include potential side effects, drug combination warnings, and other warnings such as “do not operate heavy machinery.”

Manufacturer or manufacturing defects can occur at any point between the production site and the time you receive your prescription. Specifically, the defect occurs when something happens in the production chain that contaminates or compromises the drug. 

Proving manufacturing defects is quite difficult, but with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, your chances for success go up.

Design defects refer to the inherent and foreseeable properties of a drug or medical device that could cause unreasonable harm when used. 

In order to create an effective claim for design defects, some states may require plaintiffs to prove the product could be improved by other reasonable means.

The difficult thing about design defects for medical drugs is that any alteration may reduce its effectiveness. Therefore, a case of this nature will require industry knowledge and excellent research.

3. The Drug Will Probably Not Get Banned

When prescription drug lawsuits succeed, it does not mean that the drug will be banned. This is especially true if your claim fell under manufacturer or marketing defects. 

It is more likely that the pharmacy company will simply have to readjust its marketing and manufacturing procedures before distribution continues.

4. Keep Taking Prescriptions Until your Doctor Says Otherwise

When you feel like a drug is hurting your health, it is common sense to stop taking what’s hurting you. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, do not stop taking your medication as directed until your doctor tells you to stop. 

As you do this, it will prevent pharmaceutical companies from using loopholes to refute your claim. Keep in mind that as you keep taking the drug in question as directed, you are providing evidence that there is something wrong with the drug.

If you find yourself in this situation, document every damage that comes from using the drug. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to understand and record why the drug may be defective.

5. Preemption Law Can Help or Hurt Your Prescription Drug Lawsuit

Preemption law is a device built into the United States Constitution that allows federal law to supersede state laws. It is also known as the Supremacy Clause. 

Preemption is complex and multifaceted. If preemption applies to your case, it can help you win. However, if it does not apply, then your case will quickly shut down. 

Working with a personal injury lawyer will help you know if your case can benefit from preemptive action.

6. Cases Take a Long Time to Resolve

Cases often take years to resolve. Class action lawsuits may even take longer. There are a few cases that reached a verdict within two or three years, but some have lasted five years. Even cases that get resolved may end up in the appeal system. Be prepared for a long haul if you are considering a prescription drug defect case.

7. Cases can Include OTC Drugs

While the most common dangerous drug cases often include prescription drugs, over the counter drugs are not exempt from product liability. The most often used drugs have distinct warning labels on the packaging in order to prevent liability claims. Remember though that there are at least three different types of product liability. Just because a product is protected under one type, it does not mean it is protected under another.  

8. New Recalls happen all the time

Because the pharmaceutical industry is so active, there are always new recalls happening. The FDA as well as drug companies both issue recalls. Drug companies can issue voluntary recalls that may help protect them from future claims.

9. The Pharmacist can be Held Responsible

In personal injury law, the main fault that must be proven is neglect of care. A pharmacist has the responsibility of care for people who need prescriptions. Legally, pharmacists can be responsible for not informing the patient of any risks associated with their medication, just like doctors.

Therefore, if you were not informed by a pharmacist of important risks, they may be at fault. Also, contamination of a drug that occurs at a pharmacy may apply to manufacturer defect liability laws.

10. The FDA does not Conduct Safety Tests

While the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving safe treatments, they do not test new drugs in question. Instead, the drug companies test the drugs and send the results to the FDA. 

What does this mean? It means there is a chance that there were failures in the initial drug tests, that missed important information for risks and side effects. 

Finding a Dangerous Drug Attorney in Iowa

Building a personal injury case against a pharmaceutical company can be challenging on your own. However, working with a specialized personal injury lawyer, you will get everything you need to build a successful case. Our highly respected and experienced Iowa dangerous drug attorneys are committed to your case. They know what to expect in prescription drug lawsuits and will help you navigate the complexities you will face. Contact us by email, phone, or here on our website. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Set up a FREE consultation with us today!