Taking defective medicines, such as Avastin, Xarelto, Actiq, and Coumadin, can present serious health risks. These are usually due to unwanted side effects, which may include dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and other digestive disturbances, irregular heartbeat or blood pressure, and blood toxicity.

Sometimes the injuries sustained can be more permanent, such as loss of vision or motor functions. In such cases, consult a health care professional and/or an attorney for advice.

Who is responsible for injuries from defective medicines?

In most cases the party responsible for defective medicines is the manufacturer of the drug or medical apparatuses. If the injury is the result of a defective product, you may have a claim under product liability laws.

A manufacturer may be liable under one or more categories of products defects.

  • Defective design: The defect lies in the product’s design. Every item produced using the design will therefore be defective. Design defects are usually the result of a lack of research or inadequate testing.
  • Manufacturing defects: The defect lies in the way the product was manufactured. The design may be suitable, but certain batches of the product were defective due to contamination, machine malfunction, etc.
  • Inadequate warnings: Defects in the packaging or marketing of the product, such as improper labeling, lack of visible warnings, or insufficient instructions. May also include a failure to provide safety features such as child-proof bottle lids.

The method of proof is essentially the same for these categories of product defects. The injured person must show that:  1) The product had a defect that was unreasonably dangerous; 2) The defect caused an injury as a result of the product being used according to way it was intended to be used; and 3) The product had not been substantially altered from the way that it was sold originally.

So, for example, if the purchaser of a medicine tampers with the product or alters its composition after they bought it, it will probably prevent them from successfully recovering in a products liability claim.

What other parties might be responsible?

In addition to the manufacturer of the medicine or drug, other parties may be responsible. These can include the physician who prescribed such medicine, or the pharmacy which filled the prescription. Liability for physicians or pharmacists will likely not fall under the category of products liability.

Instead, if the physician prescribed the wrong medicine, then the cause of action will likely be medical malpractice. If a pharmacy filled the wrong type of medicine, then it will likely lead to a negligence claim.

Thus, if you have been injured by defective medicines, be sure to locate which parties are responsible for the injury. It may be a combination of several different actors which led to the damages.

What are the remedies for damages from defective medicines?

Once you have determined which party may be responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to recover financial losses incurred from the injury. This can include medical expenses, lost wages if the injury has limited one’s ability to work, and possibly punitive damages. Be sure to document your expenses using receipts and records.

If several people have been affected by the defective medicine, you may have grounds for a class action lawsuit. Class action suits can be viable option, but they can also be complex and lengthy.

Finally, if you wish to report the manufacturer of the defective medicine, you may wish to contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which may trigger a recall of the medicine. You may also be entitled to a refund for the recalled product.

Do I need a lawyer for a defective medicine claim?

Defective medicines can present a hazard to one’s health and well-being. If you have been injured by defective medicines, it is important that you contact a lawyer for advice and representation. A competent consumer lawyer can advise you on your claim and present the course of action that is right for you. Be sure to check your purchases before consuming any type of medicine.