Defective drugs: what to do if you were affected

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Picture of Researcher: Ariana Arce​

Researcher: Ariana Arce​

Picture of Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

Journalist: Aaron Vivanco

Picture of Editor: Daniela Polo

Editor: Daniela Polo

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Defective drugs: what to do if you were affected

When you are prescribed a medication or drug, the last thing you think is that the remedy would be worse than the disease. Nevertheless, this happens often with certain drugs that cause long or short-term damage. What should you do if you became ill or were otherwise negatively affected by defective drugs? Keep on reading to find out. 

What is Considered a Defective Drug

A prescription or over-the-counter medication in which the health risks are higher than the benefits may be considered a defective drug. Sometimes, the drug may not be sufficient or effective to treat the disease or symptom as advertised or labeled. On other occasions, the drug may have been tainted during the process of manufacture or distribution. 

Any unexpected or severe side effects caused by a drug may be enough to consider a drug defective. For instance, when a painkiller is advertised to be safe for pregnant women but also puts their newborns at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, it could be considered a defective drug.

Defective Drugs: Acting Fast is Key

There are many steps to accomplish to avoid further complications caused by defective drugs and to proceed correctly legal-wise. 

  1. Get Medical Help. 

This is the first thing to do when someone suspects to have taken a defective drug. Any side effect or symptom is a warning and means that you need to go to the ER or call 911 immediately. A medical professional should evaluate your situation. Don’t forget to show them the drug you took, but don’t leave it in the medical attention facility. You may need this as proof when deciding to pursue a lawsuit. 

  1. Keep records. 

All the evidence related to the drug, the case, bottle, or blister, alongside the box and prescriptions is valuable information when deciding to take legal action against the manufacturer. Any documents from medical treatments you had to receive because of the defective drug are relevant, as well as expenses you incurred as a result of the damage. 

  1. Contact an experienced defective drug attorney.

As soon you take this step, the better. A good defective drug lawyer will know if you have a case, and if so, what are the next steps to take. Lawyers that are accustomed to this type of lawsuit can help you understand your rights, as well as the best way to sue the company that produced the defective drug. You can contact us for a free initial consultation. 

  1. Report the side effects. 

You must inform the side effects you suffered to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This entity can explain to you how to proceed for your physical safety and also, how to correctly preserve the drug to avoid further contamination or damage (to you or others). The FDA can potentially order a recall of the product from drugstores and pharmacies. 

  1. Look for class action lawsuits or other defective drugs past cases

Although an experienced defective drugs lawyer can guide you through this, it is helpful to start researching for yourself other similar cases. You can even find current lawsuits against the same company, regarding the same defective drug. You can contact the attorneys or law firm in charge of the case to join the class action. 

  1. Do some follow-ups about the drug and the case

Even if you already found a lawyer to take care of your defective drug lawsuit, keep yourself informed about updates, news, new recalls, and other legal actions related to the drug. 

Who Is Responsible For a Defective Drug 

To understand who is the defendant of your case, you need to find who is responsible for the damages. If a company manufactured the drug and didn’t take the proper measurements during the design, manufacturing, or advertising processes, then they may be the ones liable. 

Sometimes, the drug became defective because there was negligent handling during the distribution. Here, the company that distributed the drug could be the one to blame. In any case, a personal injury lawyer or defective drugs attorney can explain to you who would be the correct defendant.

How to Estimate Compensation Amounts for Defective Drug Cases

Calculating the damages of your injury due to a defective drug is not easy and the figure you come up with may not be exact. There are many things to take into account to estimate an amount. For example:

  • Medical expenses. Long or short-term health conditions resulting from taking the defective drug. Other medications you had to take to counteract the effects of the defective drug, therapies you needed to undertake, medical devices you need to buy and nurses’ salaries also count. 
  • Loss of wages and loss of earning capacity. All the work you couldn’t perform because of your injuries should also be part of the compensation. 
  • Other expenses. If you can’t clean your house, make errands and cook because of an injury, you may need to hire someone to do that for you. Those numbers also add up to the payout.
  • Pain and suffering. These emotions are translated into money when it comes to product liability lawsuits. When a disease caused by defective drug side effects produces feelings of sadness, depression, or any mental and emotional impairment, these can be taken into account in the final compensation amount. 

Although this is not an exact science, there are ways to calculate a possible compensation for a defective drug case. Many times, past cases against the same defendant or over the same type of product may help to round up a number. Also, successful lawsuits in which the damages were similar can be of guidance.