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  • Leitner Varughese

Who Might Be Liable for Damages Caused by a Defective Drug?

prescription pills

The FDA has approved more than 20,000 prescription products for pharmacies to distribute. Treating everything from anxiety to hypertension, these medications are prescribed for a host of different reasons.

There is one thing, however, that all patients have in common: When they take the drugs as instructed, they don’t expect them to cause harm. Aside from any minor side effects their doctor warned them about, patients expect their medications to make their lives better, not worse.

While this is a reasonable expectation, it’s not always the case. The FDA recalls thousands of drugs and medical devices each year because their risks outweigh their benefits. Since it can take years to identify the associated dangers, however, many patients end up suffering regardless.

If you experienced serious complications after taking a defective drug, you probably have grounds for legal action. Before you can seek compensation, though, you’re going to have to determine who might be responsible for the damages you incurred.

When it comes to product liability claims, including those involving defective drugs, there are a few potential defendants. The most likely culprits include:

1. The Manufacturer

Manufacturers are typically liable for issues that arise during production. Most manufacturing defects affect only specific batches of the drug, rather than the medication in general. As such, patients who intend to sue for damages must prove that the products they received were from the “tainted” line.

Labeling errors can also be attributed to the manufacturer. If the drug in question was safe but the instructions on the bottle were not—or the warnings were insufficient—patients are usually entitled to sue for damages.

2. The Distributor

Companies that market and distribute medication have an obligation to disclose all the potential side effects their products pose. They must also store and ship the drugs according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some medications need to be kept refrigerated, for example, or they will become contaminated.

When distributors neglect their duties, the patients who end up taking the drugs are the ones who suffer. If you experienced complications and the drug wasn’t part of a batch affected by a manufacturing defect, the distributor may be to blame.

3. The Pharmacy

Like distributors, pharmacies have an obligation to store the medications they sell properly. They must also prepare all prescriptions according to precise specifications. Should they fail to compound or bottle something properly, they can be sued for any damages that result.

Discuss Your Case with a Product Liability Lawyer in New York

If you experienced complications while taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, turn to Leitner Varugheseto see if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Representing clients in New York City, Long Island, and the rest of New York state, we have secured more than $150 million for our clients in successful settlements and verdicts. To set up a free initial consultation with a product liability attorney in New York, call 855-585-2969 or complete the Contact Form on our website.


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