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What to do when the drug prescribed to heal causes harm

by  on  News & Resources

Many of us have been prescribed medicine that has caused an uncomfortable or unwanted side effect–a stomach ache, sleepiness, or weight gain to name some common consequences of many drugs. While these side effects are unpleasant, they are usually not debilitating or life-threatening. But what if you took medicine prescribed for a certain medical condition, and the medicine caused a new, equally or more dangerous medical condition, such as cancer? 

Drug side effects and unintended consequences are now a leading cause of death, disability, and illness, yet experts estimate that only 1-10% of serious adverse events are ever reported. Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney points out that many people assume that if a drug is prescribed by their doctor and has been approved by the FDA that it is safe. But “safe” in terms of FDA approval can mean that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks for the intended population. Because many prescription drugs carry serious risks of adverse side effects and potential disease manifestation, there are several free and independent websites devoted to public awareness of what drugs have had harmful side effects and consequences reported with their use. Two such websites are RxISK and lawyersandsettlements.com. People are encouraged to check these websites and others like them for any reports regarding drugs they may be taking, and likewise, to report any negative events experienced from the drugs they are prescribed.

If adverse side effects or a wholly new medical condition resulting from the use of a prescribed drug, there are several theories of liability by which financial loss and aid for disability and medical care can be recovered. Medical malpractice is one such cause of action; however, this type of claim is typically pursued against a doctor or health care professional or facility for deviation from the accepted standard of care. If the drug that caused harm was prescribed correctly (given for the correct condition and in the correct dosage), then medical malpractice could only be pursued against the doctor and/or hospital if one or both knew of some adverse consequences associated with the drug in other patients. 

However, your Denver Personal Injury Attorney emphasizes that other causes of action may be used to sue the drug manufacturer, even when the drug is not considered defective (product liability) and has been approved by the FDA. Failure to warn or inadequate warning of harmful side effects are two possible claims against a pharmaceutical company when the drug they produce causes harm even when taken for the intended use, in a prescribed way, by the intended population. False marketing is another cause of action that can be pursued, especially if the manufacturer misrepresented that FDA approval of their drug means that it is totally safe. 

As long as it can be shown that the drug caused the harm suffered, recovery in the form of monetary damages can be awarded. Also, an injunction on the sale of the drug or more adequate warnings regarding side effects can be sought to avoid future harm to other patients. If you have suffered serious side effects or developed a serious medical condition from taking a prescription drug, contact attorney Jordan Levine at the Levine Law Firm today for a consultation.