Dangerous Drug Attorney in Pittsburgh603 Stanwix St., Suite 1825
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
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Pittsburgh Defective Drug Lawyers - Morgan & Morgan
Modern medicine is an astonishing thing; there is a vast array of prescription and over-the-counter medications that have been developed to help many ailments that were untreatable in the past. We now have ways to fight infections, lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks, manage diabetes, and of course, provide pain relief.
However, with all the progress modern medicine has made, some drugs have been discovered to do more harm than good. Problems arise when medications are not sufficiently tested or if the drug is marketed for purposes other than intended or otherwise defective. Defective or dangerous drugs can leave thousands of users suffering from drug injuries. Suppose you or a loved one have been injured using either a prescription or over-the-counter drug. In that case, our Pittsburgh defective drug lawyers may be able to help you with a claim for compensation.
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What is a defective drug injury?
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are intended to keep us healthy and help with symptoms. But taking a defective drug can cause the user to suffer long-term physical pain and emotional or psychological pain. In severe cases, defective drugs can even cause death.
If you feel that a drug you have taken caused you harm, you could check to see if a recall has been issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA.) This is the federal organization responsible for ensuring that drugs, food, and other products are safe for consumers.
The process to get a new drug approved for the market is arduous. It includes many phases, including developing a prototype of the drug, applying for the approval of an investigational new drug, and testing on human subjects. Even after being approved for the market, the FDA closely watches to ensure product integrity.
Despite the FDA's best efforts to ensure public safety, some drug manufacturers may hide data that shows the drug could be dangerous. The drug could have harmful side effects revealed after a large portion of the public begins to use it, or consumers start to use it in a manner it wasn't intended for causing serious injury or death.
To understand if you've been injured by a dangerous drug, you must get a diagnosis from a medical professional. A doctor may be able to determine injury through lab work and examinations. If you feel like your doctor had a role in your injury, you should consider getting a second opinion from another doctor.
There is a fine line between a drug injury for a defective medication and being prescribed the wrong medication. An incorrect prescription would fall under another legal claim called medical malpractice. In contrast, a defective drug claim would be product liability under the law.
When is a drug considered defective?
While most drugs have the potential to cause some type of adverse reaction or unexpected side effect, not all bad reactions mean the drug is defective. A defective drug is identified as being so when it has dangerous side effects that were not wholly or properly identified while going through clinical trials.
After a drug is approved for the market, it may take months or even years for enough negative data to be produced to trigger a recall. Suppose you feel like you could be suffering dangerous side effects from an approved drug. In that case, you should contact the Pittsburgh defective drug lawyers at Morgan & Morgan Law Firm.
What are some famous drug recalls?
Thalidomide: Prescribed as a remedy for nausea during pregnancy in the 1950s, Thalidomide was later discovered to cause irreversible damages to the fetus, and thousands of children were born with severe malformations, and many died. While tragic, Grünenthal, the company that produced it, had no reliable evidence to prove it was safe for use. Furthermore, they ignored the floods of complaints it received from doctors warning them of dangerous side effects their patients were experiencing. The company was later charged criminally for negligent homicide and injury.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES): Doctors prescribed this drug to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages and other complications for three decades. Research revealed the drug had no impact, yet doctors continued to prescribe it until the FDA issued a Drug Bulletin warning in 1971, showing that the drug was connected to a rare form of vaginal cancer in girls and women that were exposed to the drug during gestation.
Bextra: A Pfizer drug, Bextra was marketed as an anti-inflammatory medication, and physicians also prescribed it to patients with arthritis. It was used until 2005 when the FDA found that the drug caused heart and stomach problems and was the root of severe skin conditions like Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which causes blistering of the skin and internal organs.
Vioxx: 20 million people were using this drug for anti-inflammatory medication to treat arthritis before researchers discovered it increased the chances of heart attack and stroke. Merck, the creators of the drug, settled for $4.8 billion.
Fen-Phen: Known as a miracle weight loss drug, the medication had been around since the '70s and achieved moderate success until advertising campaigns catapulted it onto the world stage in the '90s. The FDA pulled the drug when researchers linked it to pulmonary hypertension. An estimated 6.5 million people used the drug over three decades.
What are some known defective drug side effects?
Common defective drug side effects that could cause a victim to seek compensation are:
- Increased risk of cancer
- Liver damage
- Kidney failure
- Suicidal thoughts or increased risk of suicide
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Blood clots
- Chronic pain
- Congenital disabilities
- Stunted growth
Can you sue a drug company for side effects?
If you've suffered severe side effects from a dangerous drug, there are three different types of product liability lawsuits you may be eligible to file depending on the circumstances for the defect.
- Defective manufacturing lawsuit: These types of cases allege the drug's side effects were due to defects in the manufacturing stage or the medication was contaminated due to conditions at the manufacturer's site. For example, during the packaging process, the drug was contaminated with some other drug ingredient that caused your injuries.
- Defective design lawsuit: This lawsuit alleges that the formula for the drug was defective, causing the drug to cause harm or make it unsuitable for treating your ailment.
- Failure to warn lawsuit: Any drug manufacturer has the duty to warn users of known side effects. This warning has to be included in the packaging. A physician has the duty to warn their patients of known side effects and advise how other medicines may interact with it before prescribing any drug. Drug companies may be held liable if they misreported side effects found during testing, misreported the drug's effectiveness, mislabeled side effects or ingredients, or did not follow federal regulations when testing the drug. Failure to warn lawsuits are the most common type of dangerous drug side effects claims.
Who can be held liable for a defective drug liability case?
There are several parties that could be held liable for your injuries, and it all depends on what type of defect caused your side effects. The parties to take a close look at are:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Medical facilities
- Companies that do marketing for drugs
- Drug sales representatives
To help determine who is liable, our Pittsburgh defective drug lawyers will examine all the evidence and investigate potential parties in an effort to help you get the best compensation possible.
What are defective drug laws?
Fortunately for consumers, federal law dictates that any pharmaceutical company that distributes a defective drug is liable for all damages done to victims. Once a defective drug has been identified, it is pulled from the shelves. People who the drug has injured can join class action lawsuits or file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation if they can prove the drug caused them harm.
The amount of compensation one could receive typically depends on the severity of the side effects, if the side effects are long or short term if the side effects are life-threatening, and if the side effects caused the victim to have additional medical treatments like surgery, for example.
How hard is it to prove a drug is defective?
Going up against big pharma is not something a person injured by a defective drug should have to do alone. You really should have the best Pittsburgh defective drugs lawyers at Morgan & Morgan by your side. To prove a drug is defective requires an in-depth scientific understanding of drug chemistry and how the human body reacts to drugs; this will require experts in that field. A defective drug lawyer will need further experts that have a deep understanding of the drug approval and manufacturing process to determine if inappropriate shortcuts were made causing harm to consumers.
Pharmaceutical companies are famous for fighting to keep harmful data hidden when a top-selling drug's safety comes into question. Many times people that are taking medication are doing so because they have underlying conditions that need treatment. This makes it much easier for the pharmaceutical companies to argue that it wasn't their product that caused the side effects. It is much more challenging to establish liability and big pharma has the resources to stall or undermine the process.
Our defective drug lawyers also have vast resources at their disposal because Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest personal injury law firms in the US. Personal injury law is our bedrock, and we've recovered billions for our clients over the course of 30-years in business.
It's important to note that Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations regarding defective product claims. That means when the injury took place, you have two years within which to file a claim. However, Pennsylvania also has a discovery rule which means the clock starts ticking when the injured discover they have been injured. This may be particularly important in cases of defective drugs where it may take years to learn of damage done to the liver, heart, kidneys and increasing the risk of cancer.
How to find the best defective drug lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA
Finding the best defective drug lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA, is critical because the stakes are high for you. You may not be able to work, are worried about the long-term expenses that may be in your future, and are reeling from the emotional toll of the whole situation.
Beyond medical expenses, our defective drug lawyers may be able to help you gain compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, future medical, and other costs related to your injuries. Funeral and burial expenses can also be recovered if a loved one dies due to a dangerous drug's side effects.
Ask our defective drug lawyers about their experience in this complex part of the law, and you'll find competent answers. They understand how the law will apply in your case and take every measure to ensure your case will be successfully negotiated. If no settlement can be reached, our lawyers will take your case to court.
Getting compensation for your injuries is vital for you and your family. So why not put it in the hands of a law firm with a reputation for winning, even against goliaths like the pharmaceutical companies. Schedule a free, no-risk case consultation today! Our services are free unless we win your claim.