Americans rely heavily upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assure the safety, effectiveness, quality, and security of our prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and medical devices. For many of us – especially seniors and those with chronic conditions – there are so many facets involved in tracking and refilling the medications that we depend on our doctors and pharmacists to keep an eye on possible contraindications and allergic reactions.
If you or a loved one has taken a prescribed or OTC medication as directed and suffered harmful side effects, you may have a case based upon strict liability, failure to provide warning of known side effects, or negligence in manufacturing and design. Fortunately, you can rest assured that a Charleston dangerous drugs attorney with Auger & Auger will have the facts and diligent research capabilities to pursue a claim on your behalf.
Every Charleston dangerous drug attorney at our firm has extensive experience handling claims against Xarelto®, Eliquis®, Testosterone®, and Risperdal®. Auger & Auger is currently pursuing cases for patients suffering effects from Invokana® and other similar Type 2 diabetes medications – such as Invokamet®, Farxiga®, Xigduo® XR, and Jardiance®.
Update – We are no longer accepting Xarelto cases. The Xarelto MDL litigation we were part of was successfully resolved in March of 2019.
Diabetic drugs such as those listed above are intended to improve glycemic control and simultaneously lower your blood sugar. However, there have been severe issues relating to these medications, including heart attacks, kidney failure, fractures, and diabetic ketoacidosis.
If you are experiencing the following dangerous drug side effects – please call 911 for immediate medical attention:
Health professionals and patients can report ineffective medications or dangerous side effects to FDA MedWatch with an online form. A current list of FDA patient and physician alerts, statements of recalls, updates, and advances can be accessed on their site as well.
Strict liability allows you to pursue a claim as long as the use of a drug was ‘as intended’ and the ‘direct cause’ of damage sustained. Product liability laws also cover drug manufacturers, making them responsible for releasing high-risk medications to consumers.
Not all plaintiffs want to pursue an independent court case. Multi-district litigations (MDLs) and class actions are common when many individuals have suffered harm from the same medication. With decades of experience, a Charleston dangerous drugs attorney with Auger & Auger will determine the best route to the highest compensation to which you are entitled.
Under South Carolina’s strict liability statutes, you do not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent or intentionally hid problems with their medication. However, you do have to prove that you were harmed by the product, which is usually done in one of three ways:
In dangerous drug cases, this usually means taking testimony from medical experts who can explain how the formula or design of the drug is potentially harmful. We may also present evidence of the number of people who have reported a particular harmful side effect when taking the drug. Additionally, we will discuss your medical records and the difficulties you suffered while using this medication to show that you were explicitly harmed by the drug.
Unlike a design defect, this isn’t a problem with the design that affects every individual pill produced. Instead, something has temporarily gone wrong in the manufacturing process, contaminating specific batches of the drug. In some cases, this leads to contamination with dangerous chemicals, like when a generic version of the blood pressure drug Valsartan was recalled in 2018 because it was tainted with a potentially carcinogenic component of rocket fuel.
In these cases, we will work to show that you were prescribed the medication during the time that the contaminated or defective batch or batches of medication were in circulation. If possible, we will get pharmacy or other records to show that you specifically received medication from the batch in question, then link it to the health problems you suffered later.
This is otherwise known as a “failure to warn” case. It’s hard to turn on the TV or watch videos online without seeing some sort of prescription drug commercial. Many people are baffled by the lengthy and sometimes even bizarre list of “potential side effects” at the end of these ads, but there’s a reason they exist. Drug companies must warn consumers about potential side effects, including ones that are possibly serious or life-threatening, even if these side effects are extremely rare. This requirement goes beyond commercials – the paperwork you receive with a prescription at the pharmacy should also contain a complete list of possible side effects, and your pharmacist should be able to answer any questions about risk. Sometimes the risk only occurs in combination with another medication or activity, and simply avoiding this mix will help you to bypass a problem. In other cases, the risk is more pronounced for people with a personal or family history of the condition the drug could cause.
In most cases, properly warning consumers relieves the manufacturer of liability because it puts the responsibility on the end user to take their medication correctly or discuss risk factors with a doctor. For example, if you take some Tylenol and wash it down with a fifth of whiskey and you later develop liver failure, that isn’t Tylenol’s fault because their packaging clearly states that you should not mix Tylenol with large quantities of alcohol. In other words, they have warned consumers about the risk of liver failure if their over-the-counter pain reliever is used in a specific way that could cause liver damage.
But what if you suffer a harmful side effect that you weren’t warned about when taking medication? Sometimes people believe they weren’t warned because they didn’t fully read the packaging insert or the papers provided by the pharmacy. In these situations, the manufacturer did not fail to warn the consumer. Sometimes, a doctor or pharmacist may have failed to have a conversation about the risks with the patient, and it’s possible there may be a malpractice claim instead, but this usually isn’t a product liability issue.
However, if the manufacturer provided no warning about the side effect or risk factors for a side effect that you could take steps to avoid, then the manufacturer might be liable for a “failure to warn” situation. Sometimes the manufacturer wasn’t aware of the potential risk until multiple patients began suffering the same problem while taking a drug, but they would still be liable under strict liability laws.
First, see a doctor and try to get a diagnosis. Sometimes this can be difficult. Be sure to ask your doctor if the medication you’re taking could cause your current issues. However, if your doctor says it isn’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right. They may not know if the drug company hasn’t included a warning in their documentation. It’s also possible the doctor is very busy and has not had a chance to thoroughly read all available literature about this particular medication. Even if you don’t receive a firm diagnosis, you will have at least documented the problem you’re experiencing.
Should you do your own research? This is a tricky question to answer. Sometimes it’s a good idea, but you should also remember that anyone can post anything online. Be careful of information that doesn’t appear to be from a credible source. Also, the content of online drug reviews may tell you that other people claim to have experienced the same issue you did. But again – anyone can write anything in a drug review, for any reason. For example, an employee of a competing drug company or a disgruntled ex-employee might use a review site to air their own greivances. If there are multiple claims of people experiencing a particular problem while taking a medication, you may need to wait until the FDA has conducted an investigation into the issue.
Another step you could take is to document when you started using the medication, when your symptoms began, what your doctors said, if you stopped taking the medication, and when and if you improved. (You should not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first, however.) If you have any visible problems, such as a skin rash, take pictures. Save the pill bottle or container if you haven’t already disposed of it.
Next, call a Charleston dangerous drugs lawyer for a free consultation. They will go over the details of your situation, and if you were injured by a drug with known issues, they may be able to help you file a claim, or join an MDL or class action suit. If there is not a known issue with your medication, it’s possible that there may still be a problem that isn’t widely known yet, especially if the drug is fairly new. If there is strong evidence of an issue with the medication in your case, an attorney may be able to do further research on the drug and possible causes of your condition. Your lawyer and their investigative team have the knowledge and training to find peer-reviewed journal articles and other credible sources of information about medication side effects.
If you have cause to file a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer, there are several kinds of damages you may seek in your claim:
In most cases, settlements are possible to negotiate with the drug manufacturer. However, should we need to take your case to court, we are going to present compelling evidence and work diligently to get you the compensation deserved. Our practice is dedicated to providing our clients with excellent representation and personalized customer service.
Call (843) 751-4690 today for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!