Almost half of Americans take at least one prescription drug daily; one in six takes three or more prescriptions on a daily basis. When a physician recommends a medication or medical device, consumers assume that the product is safe if it has been recommended by the doctor and approved, or cleared, by the FDA. However, manufacturers may mislead doctors by marketing improperly, failing to provide sufficient warning of potential dangerous side effects, and other actionable legal infractions that put consumers at great risk of suffering, injury and at times, even death.
Though the FDA tries to prevent dangerous drugs from ever reaching the marketplace, the number of FDA recalls clearly shows that those attempts aren’t always in step with the eventual discovery that certain drugs and medical devices aren’t safe. When a drug or medical device goes awry in the marketplace, the failure typically doesn’t happen instantly – it usually plays out after a period of time has elapsed, numerous patients have been affected, and widespread damage has occurred.
Drug manufacturers move quickly to get their drugs and devices into the hands of consumers who just want to feel better. Drugs and medical devices marketed as the latest and greatest solution for pain, symptoms, and a path to restoring quality of life are widespread. Physicians say that the advertising and messaging used to support troublesome new products are misleading, and the health care community is concerned that highly targeted advertising encourages consumers to seek out treatments that aren’t appropriate for them. According to Kantar Media, the health care industry spent $14 billion on advertising in 2014, an increase of nearly 20 per cent since 2011. In light of so many product recalls in recent years, this increase of direct advertising to consumers is troubling.
But advertising isn’t the only medium in which pharmaceuticals and medical devices are trumpeted as a solution to whatever ails you. The manufacturers often pay or offer incentives to physicians for recommending their drugs and devices, which is not only potentially unethical, but also creates a dynamic of “who do I trust?” among consumers.
Pharmaceutical product liability claims are similar to other defective product claims, but these cases have special features. Claims may be based on defectively manufactured products, the presence of dangerous side effects even though the drug or device was properly manufactured, or improper marketing.
Defectively manufactured products have been improperly manufactured, perhaps due to error during the manufacturing process, or at the location where the drug was bottled, during shipping, or a mistake in labeling. When a mistake is made between the point of manufacture and the point at which the drug reaches the consumer, a defective manufacturing claim would apply.
Drugs and devices with dangerous side effects fall into a different category. In these cases, the product has been manufactured properly, but side effects exist that may cause significant injury or death. In some cases, it is found that the manufacturer was aware of the danger but knowingly concealed the information. If this deceit on the part of the manufacturer can be proven, victims may be awarded additional compensation for punitive damages.
Improper marketing of a drug involves the warnings and instructions that are provided, or not provided, with the drug. In a case of improper marketing, the manufacturer fails to warn the consumer of dangerous side effects or has failed to provide sufficient instructions to ensure safe and appropriate use. The consumer could have received wrong information, or a lack of information, from the manufacturer, the physician, a pharmacist, or another medical provider.
Many pharmaceutical lawsuits involve more than one type of the above mentioned claims and more than one defendant, which could include the manufacturer, the lab that tested the product, the sales rep for the manufacturer, the doctor, hospital, or pharmacy. Medical malpractice claims and even wrongful death cases may go hand in hand with pharmaceutical cases. The statute of limitations varies for different types of cases in New York, so it’s critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you believe that you may have a case.
The legal and medical issues involved in this type of litigation is highly complex, so to ensure that you have a sound chance at winning such a case against defendants who have highly specialized legal teams, you’ll need an attorney who is skilled and experienced with product liability and medical malpractice claims. We realize that these types of cases are extremely personal to those who have been affected, and we respect and appreciate the level of trust a plaintiff invests in the attorneys they choose to represent them.
If you or your loved one have suffered injuries due to deceptive practices by a pharmaceutical company, we will review your case at no cost to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for injuries, trauma, medical expenses, lost wages due to lengthy recovery, emotional pain and suffering, permanent disability, or in the case of the loss of a loved one, funeral expenses.
To arrange a free evaluation of your case and explore your legal options, call Macaluso & Fafinski today at 718.364.4000 (in the Bronx) or212.480.9000 (from elsewhere in New York), or simply fill out our convenient online form, and we will respond as soon as possible. The offices of Macaluso & Fafinski are conveniently located to serve the five-borough area and its residents.