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Nov 22, 2011

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Discuss Cases Involving Dangerous Pharmaceutical Products

Manufacturers of drugs and medicines are required, by law, to exercise stringent quality controls and exhaustively test their products before they release them into the marketplace. There are lengthy and strict criteria in place that govern the testing of all pharmaceutical products – manufacturers must adhere to these criteria or face the prospect of lawsuits brought for negligence and unsafe drugs (like the Yaz lawsuits now being brought in the states against Yazmin, or “Yaz”, a birth control pill that has been much in the news of late).

Normally, there is supposed to be a qualified intermediary in place between a medicine or drug’s manufacturing concern and the patient or end user. In general terms that means your GP. He or she will make a decision based on learning and qualifications, which dictates whether or not you should be taking the drugs in question. This causes a problem in the liability chain. Who is at fault when you take a drug and it has an adverse effect on you? The doctor or the company that made the drug?

There are even drugs that have harmful side effects no matter what (some anti cancer treatments include drugs that make your immune system go haywire, for example). The severity of the complaint being treated, and the likelihood that severe side effects will still be less bad for you than the complaint you are trying to palliate. Are taken into account when prescribing these drugs. In this area, of course, both manufacturer and GP are under an awful lot of strain – because they are effectively prescribing something harmful to you, or something that contains actively harmful ingredients.

If, then, a drug has been proven to be harmful but is packaged with the right warnings, it’s unlikely that a lawsuit will succeed against it. The Yaz lawsuit must first battle the claims made on the packaging of the pill, before it can attack the pill itself.

Manufacturers will try as hard as they can to pass the buck of final accountability by informing doctors, pharmacists and other prescribing individuals about all possible side effects of their drugs – and of course about any harmful ingredients those drugs contain.

Legally the manufacturer has a duty to keep the flow of information about its drugs open – and is regarded as a responsible expert in the eyes of the law for so doing. It does not, though, have to tell doctors about every tiny conceivable reaction, if for example a millimetrically tiny portion of a patient population may, in combination with a host of unlikely circumstances, experience an adverse reaction. Though clearly the more a drug company tells, the less likely it is to sustain damages in any action comparable to a Yaz lawsuit.

Time is a massive factor in a lot of these cases. It can take years for the adverse side effects of prolonged prescription drug use to take effect. Anyone who becomes aware of symptoms and side effects, and who wishes to file a claim, should contact a solicitor as soon as possible after becoming aware of their issues. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to follow the trail to the proper defendant.

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