Drug Injury Lawyer

According to the Food and Drug Administration, as many as three billion prescriptions for medications are written annually. While these drugs help in the fight against disease and illness, many carry serious risks. According to the FDA, adverse drug reactions lead to four million visits each year to emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and treatment centers.

At Becker Law Office, our Kentucky and Southern Indiana drug injury attorneys know how devastating drug injuries can be. In some tragic cases, these drugs can cause serious illness or death.

If a prescription drug has harmed you, you need to take legal action. We believe drug makers should be held accountable when they release dangerous products into the marketplace. Our drug injury lawyers can help you to make a claim and get monetary compensation for the injuries you have suffered or for the death of your loved one.

The Dangers of Harmful Drugs

According to the FDA, the four million adverse drug reactions that occur each year can have very serious consequences. These adverse drug reactions result in more than 117,000 hospitalizations every year.  The fact is that as many as 40 percent of all adverse drug events and 60 percent of life-threatening or fatal events are preventable.

Adverse drug reactions occur for many reasons – from doctors prescribing the wrong medications to hospital and nursing home staff administering the wrong doses. A number of injuries and fatalities each year occur even when drugs are administered correctly. Patients may use the drugs as intended by the manufacturer but suffer serious, sometimes deadly side effects.

How Harmful Drugs Cause Injury

When a drug is released, manufacturers are responsible for testing the drug to ensure that it is reasonably safe. Manufacturers must provide information on clinical testing to the Food and Drug Administration, which will review the information and any drug trials in order to determine whether to allow the drug to be sold.

Almost all drugs have side effects that should be revealed in the testing. If the benefits of the drug outweigh the potential side effects, the drug can be approved despite those dangers. The drug manufacturer must warn patients of the potential, which is usually done by a warning label or fact sheet with the medication.  This allows patients to make an informed choice about the use of the drug.

Unfortunately, this system does not work as it is intended, and all too often dangerous drugs are released to the public before the side effects are fully understood.

Problems that result in dangerous drugs include:

  • FDA loopholes such as the 501(K) approval process. The FDA has special rules called 501(K) Clearance that allow for a medical device to receive fast-tracked approval with minimal testing if there is an existing approved product on the market. Unfortunately, the existing product may be a dangerous one. Even so, that product can still be used to allow other medications to receive approval provided it was not subject to an involuntary recall. Many of the most dangerous medical products released on the market in recent years found their way there as a result of the 501(K) clearance loophole. Those products include metal-on-metal hip replacement products and transvaginal mesh products.
  • Regulatory gaps. While the FDA has broad authority to regulate medications, there are limits to the FDA’s power and there are regulatory gaps. For example, pharmacies called compounding pharmacies were originally created to mix drugs for specific patients when no-pre-existing drugs were available. These pharmacies were small and regulated by local authorities. However, compounding pharmacies began to serve a different function, essentially mass-producing drugs to cope with drug shortages and rising costs. The FDA didn’t have authority to regulate these pharmacies and the compounding pharmacies worked in a regulatory gap. That ultimately led to a disastrous meningitis outbreak, resulting in 50 deaths and more than 700 people falling ill.
  • Drug reps failing to disclose side effects. A study of doctors in the United States, Canada and France and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 59 percent of sales reps visiting doctors offices failed to disclose the side effects of the medications. Since doctors are more likely to prescribe drugs pushed by drug reps, many drugs are prescribed by physicians without full information. Patients, in turn, are not aware of the risks of the medications they are taking.
  • Insufficient testing of long-term problems. When drug companies test a drug, there is no guarantee that all possible side effects will be revealed, especially if problems develop over the long-term. This means that even when a drug company tries to produce a safe product, the drug could turn out to be dangerous over time.
  • Off-label prescribing. When the FDA approves a medication, it is approved for a specific use. Often, however, a drug will turn out to treat other medical problems that it hasn’t necessarily been tested or approved to treat. When this happens, drug sales reps can push doctors to prescribe the drug for other conditions and doctors routinely make the choice to do this. This is referred to as off-label use. Off-label use can be very dangerous when drugs are given to people for whom the medications have not specifically been approved.

These are just a few examples of how dangerous drugs can make their way from drug manufacturers to patients. The reality is that you cannot count on the FDA to ensure that you take only safe medications — and there is never any guarantee that a drug that is supposed to help you won’t end up hurting you.

Examples of Dangerous Drugs

Over the years, many different types of drugs have turned out to cause serious complications for patients.

Some examples of drugs that have been the subject of lawsuits include:

If you or a loved one was prescribed these or other medications, you may experience a number of unexpected side effects. Serious side effects associated with dangerous drugs include psychological problems, birth defects, strokes, cardiac problems or heart attacks, kidney failure, liver failure or death.

Typically, the dangerous side effects may not show up for months or years after a drug’s use has become widespread. The FDA will begin receiving adverse reactions when problems develop, but manufacturers may be slow to recall dangerous drugs, if they are recalled at all.

Drug Makers Can Be Held Responsible for Injuries

If you or a loved one was harmed by a dangerous drug, you do not have to cope with the losses alone. Under the laws in Kentucky and Indiana, drug manufacturers can be held legally liable if they produce and sell a drug that makes people sick.

There are a variety of different claims that you can make when hurt by a harmful drug. For example, you can prove that the company should be held liable based on

  • Strict liability: Strict liability rules say that drug manufacturers are always responsible for unexpected drug reactions that patients experience when taking medication as prescribed or directed. You do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent in order to make a strict liability claim- you just have to show that the drug as released was dangerous.
  • Negligence: If a drug manufacturer was unreasonably careless in testing or producing their drug, you can argue that they are liable for injuries resulting from their negligence.
  • Failure to warn: When a drug manufacturer doesn’t warn you about side effects or leaves off important information about potential risks of a medication, you can take legal action based on failure to warn.

Lawyers use these and other legal arguments to prove that a drug maker breached some obligation to you. A successful case can make the company liable for your injuries.

However, you must first prove that the drug caused you injury or harm. This is called proving causation. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to conclusively link a drug to an unexpected side effect. For example, if you have a heart attack from a dangerous drug, the manufacturer could argue there’s no way to know if the drug really was the cause.

Proving causation is hard, but an experienced Kentucky or Indiana harmful drug injury attorney can help. Your attorney can assist in gathering medical evidence, FDA information,  medical testimony and other facts to help you prove your case and recover compensation for your losses.

Let Becker Law Help You

The complications caused by defective drugs can be serious and expensive to treat, and can change your whole life. You deserve to be compensated for medical costs, lost income,  pain and suffering, emotional distress or the wrongful death of a family member.

At Becker Law Office, our defective drug lawyers will make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Becker Law Office actually offers you the representation of two law firms in one.

Many drug injury claims are settled outside of court. That’s when you need a skilled negotiator for a settlement agreement. This is what the attorneys at Becker Law Office are known for. Our attorneys have dedicated their careers to advocating for clients with insurance companies and defendants. We use our negotiating skills to get clients the full amount of compensation they deserve, without the stress of a trial.

Sometimes, however, insurance companies or drug manufacturers aren’t willing to offer you the money you deserve. When this happens, an experienced litigator needs to step in. Many firms don’t have trial lawyers who can handle cases when they go this far. But when you are represented by Becker Law Office, you also have legal representation from the AV-rated trial lawyers at Bubalo, Goode, Sales & Bliss, PLC.

The award winning litigators at the Bubalo Law Office have been named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Kentucky and are ready to use their legal experience to make a compelling case for you in court.

When a drug manufacturer betrays your trust and makes you ill or harms you, you deserve to hold the manufacturer fully accountable. A team of legal professionals can advocate for you and help you to do just that.

Contact Becker Law Office today to schedule a free no obligation consultation to learn how we can help. From our offices in Louisville and Lexington we handle claims across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

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