Pharmaceutical Drugs with defects will typically end up as a product liability suit when it comes to those who take action. A duty is owed to those who use these products by the manufacturers. They are supposed to appropriately test the drugs and medicines before they release them onto shelves with the aid of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When this doesn’t happen, where does a patient stand? What can they do about the side effects they deal with?
What is “Unavoidably Unsafe?”
Some prescription drugs fall under a category known as “Unavoidably Unsafe” products. This means that they cannot be made completely safe, even if they are carefully manufactured. Perhaps you’re using a drug that is potentially harmful based on its side effects; however, should you stop using it just because of the side effects if it is actually beneficial to your health in some way in the end? These same drugs should be prepared and accompanied by adequate warnings. If they are, then they will usually not be successful in a trial involving a product liability claim.
What Duty Does a Manufacturer Carry to Warn?
First of all, specifically in California, there is a specific type of Consumer Protection. California’s consumer protection laws are some of the strongest in all of the U.S. states. The California State and Consumer Services Agency (DCA) works on behalf of the entire state and its consumers to promote sound business practices and discourage unscrupulous behavior on the part of manufacturers and merchants.
With that being said, drug manufacturers carry a duty to warn of side effects when these side effects are understood to occur. They will often do this by providing information to the patient’s prescribing physician or the pharmacist themselves. Manufacturers are seen as experts in their field. The problem occurs when pharmacists or doctors fail to warn patients of those side effects. Sometimes they will fail to relay the information and, as a result, a patient ends up injured – this could be cause for a claim. However, in other cases a doctor will properly advise a patient of risks and the patient may decide that the risks are worth taking. In that case, a claim will usually not arise.
Issues With Time Lapse
Let’s say that too much time has passed for a potential claim and the plaintiff cannot identify the precise manufacturer or supplier of the defective drug. In some cases (such ones involving drugs ingested during pregnancy) there is no longer any evidence available because, let’s take for instance, the child has grown up and the damages have not become apparent for years. In these specific cases, many theories are available to shift the burden to the potential defendants and prove that they weren’t responsible, or to allocate the damages among a number of potentially liable manufacturers.
Where Might You Stand in a Case?
Product liability actions are always very complex, especially those that involve prescription drugs. Establishing who was at fault will usually include experts. The first place you should turn is to a legal attorney from WTW to aid you in the specific product liability laws that California follows. They will help you with your potential case.