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The Dangers of Harmful Drugs
Billions of prescriptions for medications are written each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although these drugs may help to fight against illnesses and diseases in many people, for others they can carry serious health risks and dangers. The FDA reports that millions of visits each year to treatment centers, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms are due to adverse drug reactions.
Drug reactions result in over 100,000 hospitalizations annually, according to the FDA. However, as many as 40 percent of all adverse drug reports and 60 percent of life-threatening or fatal complications are preventable.
Adverse drug reactions may occur for a number of reasons. From nursing home or hospital staff administering incorrect doses to physicians prescribing inappropriate medications, the causes of complications are nearly endless. Still, many injuries and fatalities occur each year even if medications are correctly administered to patients; patients may follow directions and take the drug as intended by the manufacturer but still suffer from serious, and sometimes deadly, complications or side effects. When this occurs, the fault may be due to a defect with the drug.
How Do Harmful Drugs Cause Injury?
Prior to a drug’s release, manufacturers have the legal responsibility to test the drug to ensure that it is reasonably safe for use. Drug makers must provide results from clinical trials to the FDA, who will then review the data and any additional tests in order to determine whether the medication may be sold.
Nearly every medication has side effects that should be revealed during the testing phase. If it can be proven that the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential side effects, the drug may be approved despite those risks or dangers. However, the manufacturer must still warn consumers of the possibility of complications, which is usually accomplished by way of a fact sheet or warning label that is distributed with the medication. When patients are provided with accurate and thorough information, they are able to make an informed decision about whether the medication is right for them.
Unfortunately, the system does not always work as it is intended. All too often, dangerous medications are released to the public and healthcare communities before the side effects or complications are fully understood. In some instances, the dangers effects may not become apparent until after a drug’s use has become widespread for months or years. When problems develop, the FDA will most likely begin to receive adverse event reports, but manufacturers may be slow to recall their dangerous drugs, if they choose to do so at all.
Drug Makers Can Be Held Accountable for Injuries
In order to recover compensation for a harm caused by a prescription drug, you must first be able to prove that the medication caused you injury, also known as proving causation. In some instances, it may be difficult to conclusively link a drug to an unexpected side effect. For instance, if you suffer a heart attack that you feel was triggered by a medication, the manufacturer could potentially argue that there is no way to know if the drug was, in fact, the cause.
Although proving causation is hard, an experienced dangerous drug attorney can help you with this process and to recover damages for your injury. An attorney can assist you in gathering information from the FDA, medical evidence and testimonies and other facts that will help you to prove your case and seek compensation for your losses.
How a Dangerous Drug Attorney Can Help
Drug makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by dangerous drugs may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.