Dangerous Drugs Lawyer
Many use medicines daily: over-the-counter digestive aids, prescription allergy medications, or temporary opioid painkillers. We assume that if we follow the directions given for these medications, they will be relatively safe to use. After all, the medicines we use are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Unfortunately, drugs aren’t always as safe as they should be.
According to the FDA, drug adverse events result in more than 4 million visits to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices yearly, leading to nearly 120,000 hospitalizations yearly. In the majority of these cases, injuries and illnesses could have been avoided because they were caused by providing the wrong medicine, wrong dosage, or issues with the medication itself.
As such, if you are injured or made ill by a medication, you may be able to hold the drug manufacturer, prescribing doctor, or even the pharmacist responsible for your injuries. At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, our team of dangerous drugs attorneys has represented hundreds of victims of dangerous drugs over our 26+ years of experience. We know how to take on pharmaceutical companies in and out of court to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call us at 855-971-1114 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Dangerous Drugs Make it Into the Marketplace
New drugs are released onto the market every year. They go through rigorous testing, but it’s only tested on a small group of people. Some side effects may show themselves when the drug is released to the general public. Some of these side effects may be minor.
In addition, some drugs don’t go through testing at all before they are released. Under the FDA’s 501(K) approval regulations, “substantially similar” products can be released without comprehensive testing if the medical devices are fundamentally similar to devices that have existing FDA approval.
The issue is that some of the existing approved products have been proven dangerous already. However, these dangerous drugs can still be used as a “substantially similar” product to bring more dangerous medicines to the marketplace, so long as the products have not been formally recalled.
Common Dangerous Drugs to Be Aware Of
Many drugs are considered dangerous, even when they are taken as prescribed. Some of these include:
- Xarelto, is a blood thinner than can cause severe bleeding episodes if a patient suffers even a small cut or minor bruising. Because there is no “cure” for the anticoagulant properties of Xarelto, bleeding episodes can be fatal. Update – We are no longer accepting Xarelto cases. The Xarelto MDL litigation we were part of was successfully resolved in March of 2019.
- Invokana, is a diabetes medicine that is intended to improve glycemic control and lower blood sugar. However, this medicine could lead to ketoacidosis, a build-up of acidic waste in the blood and urine.
- Risperdal, is an antipsychotic drug used to treat some mental and mood disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, the drug can increase the amount of prolactin in teenage boys, which stimulates breast development.
In addition, opioids like OxyContin have been proven to be dangerous. Nearly every state in the country has sued Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, for its role in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. Purdue Pharma failed to disclose the addictive side effects of the drug — and went so far as to say there were no addictive properties.
Homeopathic remedies have also come under fire. In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against Wal-Mart because they marketed homeopathic remedies as legitimate, approved medication. CVS was sued over the same issue in 2018. Though the FDA doesn’t evaluate these products, the administration issues warnings on some homeopathic remedies.
Strict Liability vs. Negligence
North and South Carolina have different laws regarding suing drug manufacturers for dangerous medicines. Most states, including South Carolina, follow strict liability laws. This means you don’t have to show the manufacturer acted negligently to file a lawsuit against them. Instead, you just need to show that:
- The drug was defective when it left the factory or distribution center;
- The drug was used as it was prescribed; and
- The drug caused injury or illness.
The first criteria is generally proven by the second two. Regarding strict liability, virtually the only legitimate defense is that the lawsuit was brought outside the statute of limitations, which is three years in South Carolina.
However, North Carolina requires that you show the manufacturer acted negligently when they created the drug. This means showing:
- There was a duty of care: Manufacturers have a duty of care not just to create a safe product but also to provide warnings of any potential side effects. In addition, doctors and pharmacists have a duty of care to recommend the best drugs for a specific patient and warn patients of any potential drug interactions they may encounter based on other medicines they’re taking.
- The duty of care was breached: If manufacturers don’t take proper steps to ensure their drug is safe when taken as directed or don’t provide warnings of potential side effects, they have breached their duty of care. Similarly, doctors and pharmacists have breached their duty of care if they fail to warn their patients of potential issues with the medication.
- You were injured because of the breach of duty: Just because you suffer injury or illness while taking medication doesn’t mean there was a breach of duty. For instance, if you take multiple medications and suffer the side effects of drug A, you can’t sue the manufacturers of drugs B and C if that side effect isn’t related to drugs B and C.
- You suffered real damages: Real damages include financial loss, physical and emotional issues, and more. This is generally the easiest element to prove.
Damages in a Dangerous Drugs Case
Dangerous medications can affect your life in numerous ways. Medical care isn’t cheap, and even a brief trip to the emergency room to treat a bad reaction to a drug can be costly. Worse, some people may suffer permanent damage from defective drugs. How can you receive compensation?
By filing a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer (and possibly other liable parties), you can seek damages for the following:
- Medical expenses. This includes hospitalizations, surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy, and any other in-patient or out-patient therapy needed as a result of the dangerous drug. For example, if a drug caused internal bleeding, you might have to go to the hospital, have an operation, receive a blood transfusion, and be given other medications to reverse the effects. You would be able to seek damages for all those costs. If you’re experiencing ongoing issues stemming from your use of a defective medication, you can also consider damages for the cost of future care.
- Lost income. It’s hard to go to work when you’re in the hospital due to a bad drug causing you health problems. If you had to miss work, you either lost out on income or lost paid time off, which you might have wanted to use for something else. So much for your planned vacation! Write down exactly how much time you missed at work, and be sure to let your dangerous drugs attorney know. If you are now permanently unable to work or work as much as you used to, you may also ask for lost earning potential damages.
- Pain and suffering. An encounter with an unsafe drug can cause both physical and mental distress. Some patients experience intense physical pain or other symptoms, but mental health issues should not be overlooked. Aside from the emotional effects of dealing with additional medical problems, some medications may cause mood changes or other mental health issues. Worse, even certain medications to treat mental health issues like depression can cause suicidal thoughts or mood swings in some patients. Other people may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking a medication. This was the focus of a lawsuit against the makers of an antidepressant and a drug for nerve pain. Your mental health should be taken as seriously as your physical health, and any mental health effects you’ve suffered should be included in your pain and suffering damages.
- Loss of consortium and companionship. Sometimes experiencing additional health problems can cause issues in a relationship. If a loved one becomes ill from a dangerous drug, they may have lost the ability to do things they enjoy, or they could become depressed or anxious. The physical effects may have left them unable to do normal chores around the house or help with childcare. These changes can lead to issues in a relationship or even difficulties with physical intimacy. For these reasons, a person harmed by a dangerous drug can also seek damages for loss of consortium or companionship.
How Do You Know If You’ve Been Harmed By a Dangerous Drug?
Sometimes it’s unclear why new health problems or symptoms have appeared. You may not even connect sudden health issues with taking a new medication, but it happens more often than many people realize. Here are some things to look out for:
- A loved one has suddenly died of a health problem they’d never experienced before. Of course, there are many other possible explanations. Sometimes sudden, serious health problems do happen for no clear reason. But if a previously healthy person rapidly becomes seriously ill or dies after taking a new medication, it’s worth looking into whether other people have experienced this same problem. This is especially true if it’s a rare condition, or is abnormal for a person in your loved one’s age group or other demographic group. For example, it’s possible to die of a sudden cardiac arrest at any age, but it’s very unusual for it to happen to someone in their 20s who was never previously diagnosed with a heart condition.
- You have unexplained symptoms after starting a new medication. It can be frustrating to go from doctor to doctor and never receive a clear diagnosis. You know there’s something wrong, but every test seems to be negative. Some clients even tell us that they asked their doctor if this or that symptom could be a side effect of a certain medication. Often doctors don’t know every possible side effect of a medication – and in some cases, the drug manufacturer may not know yet. Sometimes the only way a problem with a drug comes to light is because a patient puts together that their symptoms started soon after adding the medication. However, you should not stop taking a prescribed medication without talking to your doctor first.
- You develop any sudden, serious health problem that your healthcare providers can’t explain after taking a new drug. This is especially true if your doctors seem puzzled, if you don’t fit the typical patient demographic, and if you have no family history of an uncommon issue. Again, this isn’t necessarily proof that the medication is to blame, but it is worth looking into.
What to Do if You Believe a Drug Has Harmed You
With any of the above situations, it’s important to remember that correlation is not causation. Just because you developed a health problem after taking a specific drug doesn’t necessarily mean the drug is the cause. However, you can take steps to learn more. If you’re still on the medication, ask your doctor about switching to another drug for your condition. You can also do research on side effects of the medication in question, although it’s helpful to remember that not everything on the internet is from a trustworthy source. If you’re unsure if you have a dangerous drugs claim or not, the best thing to do is contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation to learn more about your specific situation.
Speak to a Dangerous Drugs Attorney Today
You have legal options if you have been injured due to a dangerous drug. Our team of attorneys knows what it takes to fight drug manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists, and other parties both in and out of court to get the full compensation you deserve. We have been helping victims of dangerous drugs in the Carolinas for over 26 years.
When you hire us, you won’t owe us a dime until we win your case. Give us a call at 855-971-1114 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a dangerous drugs lawyer today.