Atlanta Dangerous Drug Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions


March 11, 2015

People take prescription drugs to cure illnesses, control symptoms and maintain health, but defective drugs can cause harm that outweighs the therapeutic benefits of a medication. Unsafe drugs and defective pharmaceuticals constitute a substantial percentage of all product liability lawsuits. Massive pharmaceutical companies that develop and market medications have a legal duty to conduct adequate research and testing to identify potential harmful side effects. Large pharmaceutical companies also have a legal duty to provide adequate warnings to doctors and consumers of adverse effects.

While the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of pharmaceutical products, sometimes inadequate testing and dangerous side effects go undetected. Our Georgia defective pharmaceutical attorneys have provided answers to frequently asked questions about unsafe drugs in this two-part blog post.

How frequently do people suffer adverse side effects from medications?

The FDA indicates that there are approximately four million adverse drug reactions annually. These adverse reactions are severe enough to necessitate hospitalizations of 117,000 patients annually. Further, forty percent of all adverse reactions and sixty percent of negative effects that are life-threatening or fatal are preventable.

Why are dangerous drugs allowed to remain on the market?

There are a number of reasons that unsafe drugs are placed on the market or that they are not promptly recalled. Sometimes the FDA does not recall a drug because it is unaware of the severity of side effects of the drug. In other cases, the negative effects caused by the medication are too infrequent to justify a recall. Drug companies have even been known to manipulate, understate or cover up adverse incidents or drug trials with negative results. When a drug company intentionally hides or misrepresents adverse drug trials or covers up serious adverse effects, the pharmaceutical company can be liable for punitive damages.

What constitutes a dangerous pharmaceutical?

A dangerous drug can be any medication that is prescribed or sold over-the-counter (OTC) that causes significant adverse side effects. Drugs do not have the same effect on all patients, so they can cause serious medical problems and complications even though they were intended to provide therapeutic benefits.

If a drug is associated with serious adverse effects by a sufficient number of consumers, the FDA typically will get involved in conducting an investigation regarding the harmful effects of the drug. When such an investigation reveals that the drug is too dangerous, the FDA may issue a warning to those using the drug or recall the drug in extreme cases. The FDA can force pharmaceutical companies to provide a warning to consumers and physicians on the packaging of the medication. The FDA has the power to mandate "black box" warnings for drugs that cause severe or fatal side effects, which is the most serious form of warning required.

What types of compensation are available in a defective pharmaceutical lawsuit?

If you have been harmed by a dangerous drug, a legal claim can allow you to obtain financial recovery for harmful medical complications and other forms of loss because of a dangerous medication. While your specific recovery will depend on the nature of your injuries or medical complications and the facts, some of the types of compensation you might be eligible to receive include:

  • Past medical expenses
  • Mental suffering
  • Costs of physical therapy
  • Permanent disability
  • Lost income from employment
  • Expenses incurred for prescriptions
  • Pain and suffering
  • Anticipated future medical expenses

How can I reduce the risk of being harmed by a dangerous drug?

While many patients never inquire about medications that are prescribed by their doctor, patients that ask questions about adverse side effects are in a better position to make informed decisions. Patients who have other questions also can conduct online research and discuss findings or questions with their physicians. Another way to learn about potential complications or side effects when taking a medication is to listen carefully to the information provided by your pharmacist. Patients also should carefully read all warnings and information on the packaging of medications.

Should I discontinue use of a drug that has been identified as having significant adverse side effects?

In some circumstances a patient who suddenly discontinues a drug without medical advice can suffer severe complications and even death. If you have concerns about the safety of a medication, you should immediately contact your physician before discontinuing the use of the prescribed medication.

What is off-label marketing of a drug?

If the FDA authorizes a drug to be sold to consumers, the drug will be approved for a specific use. Sometimes drugs are believed to be effective for other medical conditions and uses beyond those for which the drug has been specifically approved by the FDA. Representatives for drug companies frequently will encourage physicians to prescribe the drug for uses that have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Drug marketing can be misleading and dangerous when marketed for such off-label uses.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!

If you or someone close to you suffers adverse effects related to a defective pharmaceutical, our experienced Atlanta dangerous drug lawyers might be able to help. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.