Today, millions of people rely on prescription drugs to cure their ailments, or even to save their lives. Although prescription drugs are intended to improve a person’s quality of life, some prescription drugs can also be so poorly manufactured that they cause harm or even death. This is especially true if they are counterfeit drugs.

When a defective prescription drug harms a person, that person may have a potential lawsuit against the manufacturer to recover any damages she has suffered. Other parties can sometimes be held liable as well, depending on the situation and the circumstances surrounding the injury.

What is a Prescription Drug?

A prescription drug is medicine that cannot be legally bought without a prescription from an authorized medical professional, such as a doctor or dentist.  

Prescription drugs are different from over-the-counter drugs, which can be purchased without any prescription. They tend to be stronger (i.e. more effective) and have more side effects than over-the-counter drugs. Some newer prescription drugs may also lack long-term testing and research, which means that side effects may sometimes develop over time.

Defective Prescription Drugs and a Failure to Warn

Two common theories prescription drug lawyers normally sue manufacturers on are defective product and failure to warn

A defective product claim alleges that the manufacturer did not put a safe product on the market and that the product harmed the public. A defective product is one that has either a design flaw (i.e. every single batch of the drugs made is defective) or manufacturing flaw (i.e. only one batch is defective). 

A failure to warn claim alleges that the manufacturer knew of the dangers of the drug, and either sold the drug as is and/or did not warn anyone of its dangerous propensities. Manufacturers must conduct years of research on a drug before they can get the FDA’s approval to sell them.

During this research period, the manufacturer tests whether the drug is safe. Depending on how dangerous the drug could be, the manufacturer may or may not be able to sell it. However, if the drug only has some semi-unsafe side effects, the manufacturer may sell the drug so long as they give their consumers adequate warnings of the side effects and risks the consumers are taking.

Lastly, some medical professionals, such as pharmacists, doctors, and other professionals can sometimes be held liable for malpractice in connection with a prescription. An example of this is where a doctor prescribes the wrong dose of a drug, or if they knowingly prescribe a drug that has already been subject to a drug recall.

Consulting a Prescription Drug Lawyer

If you suspect a prescription drug has harmed you or a loved one, you may need to contact a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney or class action attorney can help you access your damages and sue the manufacturer. Your attorney can provide you with the guidance and legal research needed for your lawsuit.