Columbia Dangerous Drugs Lawyer
Prescription medications are meant to alleviate our health conditions. Our Columbia dangerous drugs attorney knows that some patients take prescribed medication only to suffer dangerous or harmful adverse reactions. Under South Carolina law, any person who experiences these side effects has the right to file for compensation. Auger & Auger is prepared to take up your fight because we don’t believe any person should suffer after following a doctor’s orders.
When you are feeling under the weather, you call your medical care provider. You may be diagnosed with a brief illness or a more severe condition. If your doctor writes a prescription, you have it filled without worry, assuming that the medication has been properly tested prior to its release and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has followed established protocols. In most cases, you are correct. Sometimes you are not.
Columbia, SC Dangerous Drug Cases
Our Columbia dangerous drugs attorney division represents patients who have been harmed by specific medications. We’ve advocated for people who have taken Eliquis®, Risperdal®, Testosterone®, and Xarelto®. The team at Auger & Auger is in current litigation due to certain Type 2 Diabetes drugs: Invokana®, Invokamet®, Farxiga®, Jardiance®, and Xigduo® XR.
Update – We are no longer accepting Xarelto cases. The Xarelto MDL litigation we were part of was successfully resolved in March 2019.
We know that a loophole in the FDA approval process allows dangerous drugs to be introduced to the market. Products considered “substantially similar” to those already released can be put in the hands of patients without comprehensive testing. If a dangerous medication has not been recalled, others that prove to cause the same or similar complications can be released thanks to this approval rule.
Some side effects are mentioned on the labels when taking prescribed medication, but they should always be brought to the attention of your doctor. The situation could be more serious if you take any medications we’ve listed. Some of the reactions you may experience are:
- Abnormal Fatigue
- Abdominal Pain
- Difficulty Breathing
Any person who is prescribed medication should read physician and patient alerts on the FDA’s website. The list tells you which medications are subject to a special alert or have been recalled. If you find your medication there, phone your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.
What Are the Three Types of Defective Drugs?
Under South Carolina law, you can claim that a drug was defective for three distinct reasons:
This means that an error or problem occurred during the manufacturing process that rendered at least some batches of the drug unsafe. Often these cases involve contamination with other drugs, bacteria, or harmful substances. In other situations, the drugs may be mislabeled or contain a higher dose of medication than the package indicates. Sometimes the issue originates with a raw material supplied by a third party, but the manufacturer is still responsible for quality control and ensuring the product’s purity and safety.
Manufacturers frequently recall specific batches of medication after identifying a problem, but a drug doesn’t have to be recalled for an injured party to file a lawsuit. However, if the drug was recalled, it could be helpful to your case.
Although medications go through a lengthy approval process with the FDA, sometimes defects don’t become apparent until the drug has been more widely used. In some cases, a drug is only dangerous under certain circumstances that may not have been identified yet – for example, when used with other medications or in people with specific conditions. It is still the manufacturer’s job to know about these issues and design a drug that is reasonably safe.
Unlike manufacturing defects, design defects occur even when production goes smoothly. The drug is inherently unsafe, especially when it is produced and taken as directed. The crucial element in these cases is whether or not you can show that the drug was unreasonably unsafe. All medications have side effects, and all medications carry at least a slight risk of severe side effects or bad reactions. However, if many people experience a serious or potentially life-threatening side effect, the drug may be unreasonably unsafe.
You, as a patient, might not know if any other people have suffered the same difficulties you did. Fortunately, your attorney’s investigative team has the knowledge and experience to examine the medication you were taking and learn more about the situation. If we discover that others suffered significant injuries while using the same drug, you may have a design defect case.
A marketing defect occurs when the drug manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings about known side effects of a medication. Some side effects may be considered reasonable if patients are warned about them and know what to look out for.
One example is the medication Abilify, which is often prescribed to treat psychosis and other mental health issues. In 2016, after receiving reports from multiple patients, the FDA ordered Abilify’s makers to warn consumers about the possible side effects of unusual risk-taking behaviors like gambling, binge eating, compulsive shopping, or sex. Some users reported that they had become financially distressed due to excessive gambling while taking the medication. Abilify ultimately settled several lawsuits in 2018 with patients who had been harmed by the drug.
The important facet of this case is that the risk of compulsive behavior wasn’t unreasonably unsafe on its own, but the lack of a warning was. In other words, if patients understood the risks, they might be able to recognize a gambling or shopping problem developing earlier. They could then speak with their doctor about changing medications before their symptoms caused significant damage to their lives. Without this warning, a patient might not immediately connect the medication with their increased visits to a local casino or other sudden, excessive expenditures.
However, it’s important to know that there is a potential defense for drug manufacturers accused of a marketing defect in South Carolina.
The Learned Intermediary Defense
In most dangerous drug cases, there are two potential defendants, the manufacturer of the drug and the seller (such as a pharmacy). Which of these you should seek compensation depends on your case’s specifics, but most commonly, the manufacturer is the defendant. In this kind of lawsuit, the manufacturer may utilize South Carolina laws to claim that they weren’t responsible for informing the end user of potential risks.
Due to how the state’s laws are typically interpreted, the manufacturer’s duty to warn only extends to physicians or other healthcare providers who prescribe medication. If the manufacturer correctly explains the risk of their medication in literature meant for prescribing physicians, it then becomes the prescriber’s job to discuss the risks and possible side effects with patients. If your doctor didn’t warn you about a potentially serious side effect that you later suffered, you might have a case against the doctor, not the drug manufacturer. However, it’s also possible that the manufacturer did not properly document the risks for prescribers, in which case you might have a claim with the manufacturer. If you aren’t sure, your Columbia dangerous drugs attorney may research the medication and its prescriber information to learn more about where a possible communications breakdown may have occurred.
Understanding the Process of a Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
If you believe you were injured by a dangerous medication, your first step should be to speak with a Columbia dangerous drugs attorney for a free consultation. If you’re not sure whether a prescribed drug was to blame for your injuries, we’ll ask you questions, and we may investigate the matter further. If you were harmed by a drug that we’re already aware of, you may have the option to join multi-district litigation, or MDL.
What is a Multi-District Litigation?
An MDL is a special legal proceeding designed for product liability cases that involve many people from many different states. This is very common in dangerous drug claims, as one medication may be widely used across multiple states. Because litigation includes so many different localities with different laws, it becomes a federal matter and is placed under the direction of a single judge to streamline the lawsuit process.
Not all cases will be MDLs, even if there are multiple defendants. In many situations, we may pursue compensation in a South Carolina state court instead.
Investigation and the Discovery Process
If your situation doesn’t fall into the category of well-known drug defects, we may spend time investigating the medication before filing a lawsuit. We’ll look into the drug’s approval process, and the side effects reported to the FDA. Additionally, we may study your medical records and talk with your doctors (with your permission) to get a better picture of your illness and how it developed. We might also look for other patients similarly harmed by the drug.
Once we’ve gathered enough evidence, we will file a lawsuit against the defendant (the manufacturer or the prescriber, depending on the situation). This initiates the discovery process, in which both sides exchange evidence about the case. We will then request various documents, testimony from employees at the drug manufacturer, and more. Discovery isn’t usually a fast process and may take months to complete, but being thorough often helps us to uncover vital evidence in your favor.
Negotiating a Settlement
After the discovery process concludes, the defendant will most likely file a motion with the court asking for your lawsuit to be dismissed on various grounds. If the evidence supporting your case is strong, there’s a good chance the judge will deny this request and set a trial date. Often this is weeks or months in the future, as the courts are very busy.
In many cases, both sides will attempt to work out a settlement during this waiting period. Although we are always prepared to go to court if necessary, we know trials are time-consuming and trying for our clients. If you’ve been harmed by a defective drug, we don’t want to put you through any extra stress if we can avoid it. Frequently we can work out a settlement that meets the client’s needs without a court case.
The negotiation process itself also takes time, with both sides extending counteroffers. As part of the process, we will discuss each offer you’ve received from the defendant and answer your questions so that you can make an informed decision. If we believe a better deal is possible or that this offer won’t fully cover all your damages, we’ll tell you, but ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to accept an offer.
While most personal injury cases do end in a settlement, there are some situations where we simply can’t reach an equitable agreement with the other side. They may refuse an amount that adequately compensates the client, or the client may choose to proceed with a lawsuit over accepting a smaller amount of compensation. We will fight for your right to seek damages in court if this is the case.
Auger & Auger Wants to Speak to You
It’s important to know you have rights if you have taken a prescribed medication that resulted in serious side effects. Your health should not be compromised by a medication and Auger & Auger knows that South Carolina laws are in place to protect you.
In cases where multiple people have been harmed by the same drug or class of drugs, class action or multi-district litigations (MDLs) arise. This means your case will be filed in the same court as others who have brought similar actions. Reach out to your Columbia dangerous drug attorney today to determine how to move forward with your case. We offer a zero-fee guarantee and work on a contingency basis. You won’t pay a dime unless your case is won.
Call (803) 470-5298 for your free consultation, with no fees due until recovery!