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Dangerous Drugs, Defective Medical Devices and Bad Drug Lawsuits
Serious injuries caused by dangerous drugs and defective medical devices are on the rise, regardless of actions (or inactions) by federal agencies and health authorities, and/or your physician and pharmacist. As recent recalls have shown, FDA approval doesn't guarantee that a drug is safe; having defective drugs and defective medical devices on the market can lead to significant health risks including serious injury, disabilities and hospitalization. In some cases, defective medical products can lead to more intensive surgeries than were originally necessary to correct the damage caused by the defect.
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Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to make drugs and medical devices safe for the marketplace; in many cases they are asked to provide warning labels to physicians and (in the case of medications) the pharmacy that dispenses their product. But all too often drug and medical device companies are aware that a drug can cause harmful drug side effects or a medical device can be defective and can cause injury or death--and they may choose profit over safety.
Although drugs and medical devices are often recalled due to drug side effects and defective devices, some pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies rush a product to market and/or aggressively promote the drug by persuading consumers to ask for the drug and convincing physicians to prescribe it. In their rush to design the next "blockbuster" drug or implantable medical device, pharmaceutical and medical device companies can put the consumer at risk.
When you get a prescription for a drug from your physician, you believe it to be safe. But according to the US Food and Drug Administration, "safe" means that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks for the population the drug is intended to treat and for its intended use. In other words, a safe drug doesn't necessarily mean it is harmless.
A defective drug means that its potential risks outweigh its possible benefits to the consumer and can lead to bad drug lawsuits.
The FDA tests drugs and approves them prior to becoming available to people, but some drug side effects, particularly long-term effects, can be difficult to determine. The FDA keeps an updated list of common drugs that have been shown to be defective.
Current pharmaceutical product litigation involving drugs and medical devices include:
- Avandia: increased risk of heart attack and increased fracture risk
- Chantix: linked to suicide
- Enbrel: alleged side effects include serious blood problems, allergic reactions, fungal infections, and cancer
- Fen Phen: A combination of drugs prescribed for weight loss has led to Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) and heart valve damage
- Gadolinium: linked to NFS/NFD, a dangerous skin disease reported with gadolinium-based contrast agents
- Heparin: contamination linked to severe allergic reactions
- Levaquin (including Avelox and Cipro): can cause tendon rupture
- Paxil: linked to birth defects such as ventricular septal defects, and infant death
- Reglan:side effects include tardive dyskinesia
- Seroquel: linked to diabetes and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
- Simvastatin/Amiodarone: risk of Rhabdomyolysis when drugs are used together
- Tylenol: linked to liver damage
- Yasmin/Yaz: linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT); Pulmonary embolism (PE); gallbladder complications and gallbladder disease; stroke; heart attack and death linked to liver damage
- Zicam: can damage sense of smell and taste
Defective Medical Devices
Consumers complain that medical devices, while designed to help, can cause additional irreversible injuries. As with defective drugs, defects in medical devices can occur from inadequate testing and rushing the approval process to get a product on the market.
The likely risk of injury caused by a defective medical device is greater than its possible benefits. A defective medical device is either flawed in design, manufacture, inadequate instructions or insufficient warnings and it does not achieve its intended purpose. Another defect may be in warnings to physicians and to consumers. The prescribing physician must be warned of any dangerous potential risks associated with a medical device.
Defective medical devices can include shoulder pain pumps; hip and knee replacements (Zimmer Durom Cup); dialysis machines; defibrillators; heart valves; stents, and more.
According to an article in the Washington Post:
- Nearly 2,500 medical devices were recalled for potential safety problems in 2008
- The FDA only requires comprehensive tracking of 14 types of devices (including pacemakers, mechanical heart valves, breast implants)
- Over 100 "Class I" recall notices went out from January to July 2009—regarding defects that are serious enough to cause a reasonable probability of adverse health consequences or death.
- Over 1,000 recall notices went out from January to July 2009.
Defective Drug & Medical Device Lawsuits
When pharmaceutical companies or medical device companies provide drugs, devices and treatments that cause injuries to many victims, mass tort and class action attorneys can ensure your rights are protected through a group lawsuit, thereby allowing victims to share legal fees. Or you may have suffered from a defective drug or device and wish to seek legal advice without joining a class action. Many attorneys work on a contingency basis: if you have suffered from a dangerous drug and/or defective medical device, file a complaint with an expert attorney for free legal advice.
Medical and Drug Lawyers
LawyersandSettlements.com provides comprehensive drug and medical news coverage that aims to keep the public informed. We provide an online legal news source that includes interviews with drug lawyers and medical lawyers.
It is important that you find an experienced drug lawyer to handle your case.
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Updated on Nov-8-12