When patients are prescribed a medication by a physician, they usually make the assumption that the medication is safe. Unfortunately, there are cases in which pharmaceutical companies produce drugs that have dangerous side effects, even deadly ones. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug, there may not have been adequate testing to determine the drug’s safety, and problems become apparent only after the dangerous drug has entered the market.
In more troubling cases, drug companies fail to disclose safety problems to the FDA, to doctors, or to the public, engage in fraudulent marketing campaigns, or produce inadequate labels.
Patients who are harmed by a medication that is supposed to help them may want to consider contacting a dangerous drug attorney for assistance recovering damages incurred as a result of that drug’s side effects.
Patients who have suffered ill effects from a drug may first become aware of the drug’s defect via the following:
A drug is recalled after safety issues come to light. In 2004, for example, Merck recalled Vioxx, a pain medication, after it became clear that the drug was linked to heart attack and death. 38,000 deaths had been attributed to the drug at that point.
Journal articles or studies appear with claims about a drug’s safety. For instance, early in 2014, a group of important studies were published supporting a connection between testosterone gels purportedly treating “Low T” and serious heart issues, in some cases leading to death.
An FDA warning is issued regarding complications associated with the drug. The FDA sent out a series of warning letters regarding the popular birth control medications Yaz and Yasmin when studies had linked them to several dangerous side effects, including deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, stroke, heart attack, liver and breast cancer, and gallbladder problems.
It now becomes clear to the patient that what they thought was an unfortunate and isolated event actually ties them to hundreds or perhaps thousands of other patients who have all suffered because of a drug’s defects.
A patient may then file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages and losses suffered as a result of the defective drug. In some cases, the number of lawsuits filed is large enough that the court oversees the creation of a special kind of litigation process, known as a multidistrict litigation (MDL) on the federal level and a mass tort on the state level, which facilitates the more efficient processing of the many cases.
An MDL or mass tort involving allegations about dangerous drug injuries will often involve the following:
- A shared pre-trial discovery process
- The establishment of a bellwether (preliminary) case or cases designed to set precedent and avoid conflicting rulings
- Case management designed to facilitate the process and, if possible, to establish a large scale settlement in order to avoid further litigation
The testosterone MDL is still in the early stages of its formation and there is still no way to know what the outcome of the litigation will be. In contrast, the Vioxx litigation has already reached a conclusion. The defendant, Merck, distributed $4.85 billion in settlement monies and later paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for unethical marketing and sales tactics.
Some of the largest settlements have involved patterns of fraud, failure to warn, destroying evidence, illegal marketing, and other problematic behaviors on top of the drug side effects. In addition to the Vioxx scandal, Takeda and Eli Lilly were hit with a $9 billion punitive damages award for issues related to destroying evidence in connection to their diabetes drug Actos. The damages award was added to the $1.5 million in compensatory damages awarded concerning the drug’s unfortunate tendency to cause bladder cancer.
Additionally, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $158 million settlement with a plaintiff who developed male breast growth after taking the antipsychotic medication Risperdal. The company had also been fined severely for marketing this drug illegally to adolescents and children; the plaintiff in this case was younger than 9 when he began taking the medication.
Legal Help For Dangerous Drugs Victims
Are you or a family member suffering from injuries as a result of Dangerous Drugs? The lawyers at Papcsy Janosov Roche can help you obtain justice. Contact an attorney at Papcsy Janosov Roche now at 203.642.3888 or simply fill out the Free Dangerous Drugs Case Evaluation Form.
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