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Who Is Liable for Defective Drugs?


Millions of Americans take pharmaceutical drugs every day to treat a variety of conditions. The majority of these medications are safe, but defective or harmful drugs do get introduced to the market. If you’ve been injured by a pharmaceutical drug, you may have an injury claim, but the details of your unique case can affect your claim greatly. Here are some of the factors that can affect your defective drug claim.

What Are the Types of Drug-Related Liability Claims?

There are three basic types of drug-related product liability claims: defectively manufactured drugs, drugs with dangerous side effects, and improperly marketed drugs. These claim types address the different issues that may cause harm to consumers. Below, we’ll take a closer look at each type of claim.

Defectively Manufactured Drugs

Tainted drugs or drugs that have been improperly manufactured in some way are addressed by this type of product liability claim. These defects may be caused by the manufacturing facility or pharmacy where the drug was made, compounded, or bottled, a problem that occurred during shipping, or an error in labeling. Anny issue that happens to the medication between its manufacture and it’s delivery to the patient may be considered a defectively manufactured drug claim.

Pharmaceutical Drugs with Dangerous Side Effects

Even when properly manufactured, some pharmaceutical drugs may have side effects that cause serious injury. Sometimes, these cases may involve drugs that have been on the market for many years before the risks are discovered, or they may involve cases where the manufacturers were aware of the risks and worked to deliberately conceal the dangers. In cases where the manufacturer attempted to hide the risks, it may be possible for victims to claim punitive damages.

Improperly Marketed Drugs

When referring to the marketing of drugs, what is being examined are the warnings, instructions, or recommendations for the use of that drug. Injuries caused by misleading marketing, inadequate warnings about dangerous side effects, or misinformation about the appropriate use of the drug. This bad information may come from the manufacturer themselves, or from a doctor, sales rep, pharmacist, or other medical provider.

It is possible that a combination of claims may best suit your particular injury. With each different claim, there may be a different set of potentially liable parties. Your product liability attorney will help you understand what claims may apply to your situation and who may be responsible for your injuries.

Potential Defendants in a Drug-Related Product Liability Claim

If you are considered a drug-related product liability claim, you will want to be sure that you account for all possible defendants. This includes every party in the “chain of distribution” of the drug in question—from the manufacturer to your pharmacy. Here are examples of some of the potential defendants in a drug-related product liability claim:

  • Drug manufacturer: The usual defendant in a dangerous pharmaceutical drug claim is the drug manufacturer themselves, who are ultimately responsible for creating safe-to-use medicines. Big Pharma companies will certainly have the means to payout damages, but they also will have defense firms at the ready to protect their best interests. Make sure you advance your case with the assistance of trustworthy attorneys.
  • Laboratory: Many dangerous drugs are tested and approved by a laboratory, which is supposed to spot potential complications and warn either the manufacturer or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A laboratory that inadequately tests a pharmaceutical for safety could be held liable if it is sent to the public market and causes harm.
  • Sales agent: The connection between Big Pharma and the doctors who prescribe their medicines is most often a sales agent or representative. An agent who falsifies the safety of a drug to make more sales can be liable for harm done to patients prescribed that drug by medical providers who spoke with the agent.
  • Medical provider: Your doctor or physician needs to warn you about all potential side effects of prescription medicines so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to use it. You can hold them liable for your damages if information was withheld, intentionally or inadvertently.
  • Hospital: There are some dangerous drug cases in which a hospital or medical clinic is also named as a defendant. This usually occurs if the hospital distributes dangerous medicines knowingly and for a financial kickback.
  • Pharmacy technician: Some patients are misinformed about a drug’s safety by their pharmacy technician when picking up a prescription. In such cases, the pharmacy could be held liable. Of course, liability can fall upon a pharmacy if they mix up prescriptions or provide the wrong dosage.

You deserve to feel safe knowing that your pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured to the highest standards and all measures are taken to protect your health, but if you or a loved one been harmed by a prescription medication, we can help. At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we’re dedicated to offering personalized client service and expert legal counsel. Our Kansas City product liability attorneys are backed by decades of collective legal experience, which we will put to work for you. Schedule a free consultation to learn more today!

Contact our law offices today. Call (888) 398-2277.