Most medications, including those sold over the counter, can result in undesired secondary side effects.
Take, for instance, a cold remedy that treats the cold but makes you sleepy, sinus decongestants that make your heart race, and aspirin that can cause severe side effects like bleeding and gastric ulcers.
All this is because the human body is a massively complex structure built from chemicals that must be controlled to function smoothly. Some medications you may use work by replacing one of the body’s regulating chemicals to balance functions and treat a certain condition; however, at the same time, this may affect other processes in your body.
While some of these side effects are minor and can go away on their own, others can have severe, long-term impacts on your health.
Dealing with side effects is an informed risk people take when they use medications, as often the continued health benefits are greater than the inconvenience of side effects. But, ethically and legally, patients must be informed of potential side effects; otherwise they cannot make an informed decision when choosing whether the medication’s ability to treat their condition is worth the risk of other negative consequences.
When a pharmaceutical manufacturer or distributor fails to inform patients of the potential side effects of a medication, and especially if this information is knowingly withheld, victims suffering from the negative outcome may be able to file a lawsuit to get compensation for damages experienced.
The difference between a medication’s side effects being lawsuit-worthy or not relies on a few factors.
Factors that Determine Whether a Medication’s Side Effect Is Lawsuit-Worthy
More than 1.5 million people end up in hospitals every year because of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. If you were one of these victims, to file a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the dangerous side effects are the adverse reaction to the medication that the maker failed to inform the public of, or that the manufacturer didn’t have knowledge of the effects due to inadequate drug testing.
To make a case in a pharmaceutical lawsuit, you will need to prove that your injury was the fault of the defendant due to either:
- Defective manufacturing of the drug;
- Defective design of the medication; or
- Failure to provide adequate warnings of side effects or instructions for use.
When doctors recommend medications, they have a legitimate responsibility to evaluate the following factors before prescribing them to a patient:
- The drug’s common side effects;
- The connection of the prescription to any other medicine used by the patient; and
- The comparative risks and benefits of the medication in the light of the patients’ general health.
The pharmacist must give out the prescribed medications and properly read the doctor’s instruction and fill it with the accurately prescribed dosage. Doctors can also share the blame if something happens to you due to a drug they prescribed: for instance, a doctor prescribed the wrong dosage or failed to take into consideration your allergies and other medications.
If you suffered from negative, lasting side effects because your healthcare provider was at fault in prescribing the medication to you, instead of due to an error with the drug itself, you may be able to file a medical malpractice case to receive remuneration from the doctor or provider.
Common Side Effects of Defective Drugs
In 2016, prescription drugs accounted for $328.6 billion of national health-related expenditures in the United States.
The FDA must approve new drugs before they are sold. However, problems might come up at any time before, during, or after the medication’s authorization. Some serious medical side effects that can be caused by prescription medications include:
- Lung disease;
- Liver toxicity;
- Kidney disease or kidney failure;
- Congenital disabilities;
- Permanent hair loss;
- Tissue necrosis;
- Bladder cancer;
- Heart attack or heart failure;
- Bone fracture;
- Vision loss; and
- Sudden death.
Ongoing Pharmaceutical Case: Elmiron
There are currently a variety of active drug lawsuits, some of which have been in process for years. Active lawsuits include cases concerning acne drugs like Accutane, birth control medications like Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella, and antibiotics like Zithromax.
One serious recent case involves the bladder medication Elmiron.
New studies show that taking Elmiron, which is used to treat interstitial cystitis, puts the patient at risk of developing eye impairments and vision loss. The severe side effects of the drug can damage the macula, which is a part of the retina in charge of central vision, causing vision loss that can potentially result in permanent blindness.
Patients were not informed of these risks and thus were not able to make a qualified decision when choosing to use the medication.
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that affects the bladder and the pelvis. This condition commonly affects women, and the symptoms include;
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Urinary urgency
- Bladder pain and discomfort
- Frequent urination usually in small amounts
If you have been to a hospital for the above symptoms, you were likely given Elmiron. If you or someone you love took the drug and is experiencing these adverse side effects, you might have grounds for legal action.
The Elmiron lawsuit lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are currently fighting for patients who were not warned of these damaging effects.
Patients have the right to be adequately informed of the harmful effects of medications in order to make the best possible decisions for their health. But patients were denied that essential information. The manufacturer of Elmiron, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, should be held accountable and pay reparations to those whose lives have been affected, and in some cases permanently altered, by this negligence.