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Arlington Heights dangerous drugs attorneysModern medicine provides many benefits to patients, and a wide variety of treatments, medications, and medical devices may be used to address people’s health concerns. However, even though certain types of treatments may have been approved for public use, this does not always mean they are completely safe. In many cases, prescription drugs are found to have dangerous side effects for some people, or patients may suffer harm after using some medications due to allergies or interactions with other drugs. In cases involving injuries caused by defective or dangerous drugs, patients will want to determine how they can pursue financial compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Prescription Drugs With Dangerous Side Effects

While all prescription drugs must go through a testing and approval process before they can be made available for public use, this process does not always uncover the potential risks to patients. In some cases, a drug may be rushed to market with minimal testing, or side effects or harmful interactions may not be discovered until after the use of a medication has become widespread. In other cases, a manufacturer may not provide enough information to doctors or pharmacists about the safe use of the drug, or a medical provider may prescribe a medication without fully considering the health risks to a patient.

All drugs have some side effects that can affect patients, but certain types of medications have been found to be especially dangerous. These include:

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Arlington Heights pharmacy malpractice attorneysThe majority of U.S. residents take prescription medications from time to time. Unlike over-the-counter medications like aspirin, prescription medication must be prescribed by a physician and are typically dispensed by a pharmacist. The reason many medications are only available through a doctor’s prescription is because the medications have the potential to be abused or cause dangerous side effects. When we take a prescription medication, we trust that the medication will be safe and effective. Unfortunately, harmful medication mistakes happen to countless individuals every year in the United States.

Types of Medication Errors

Medication mistakes often occur due to an oversight or mix-up at a doctor’s office, hospital, or pharmacy at which a prescription is filled. Some of the most common medication mistakes include:

  • Mixing up “sound alike” medications with similar names such as hydroxyzine and hydralazine
  • Administering the wrong type of medication to a patient in a hospital
  • Giving a patient too little or too much medication
  • Skipping doses of medication
  • Prescribing or administering a medication the patient is allergic to
  • Prescribing or administering a medication that negatively interacts with another drug
  • Mixing up patient files
  • Failing to adequately warn patient about drug interactions or side effects
  • Failing to provide adequate instructions regarding how to take the drug
  • Mislabeling medication
  • Incorrectly manufacturing a medication that results in a medication defect

Bringing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Drug Errors

If you or a loved one were the victim of a drug mistake, you may be interested in bringing a legal action against the liable party. The party legally responsible for a drug mistake may be a medical professional such as a physician or a pharmacist, or it may be an organization such as a nursing home, hospital, or drug manufacturer.  To bring a successful medical malpractice claim for a medication error, you and your attorney will need to show that:

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When a Drug's Risks are Not Advertised, it is a Defective Drug

Drug manufacturers have the responsibility to disclose all potential side effects of their products. They must be disclosed to doctors who may prescribe the products to patients and to patients who may take the drugs. By providing this information, drug companies make it possible for doctors to weigh the benefits and potential risks of a particular medication before prescribing it to a patient and patients can consider whether the benefits outweigh the risks before deciding whether or not to take the medication. Without disclosures of potential side effects, doctors and patients cannot make fully informed decisions about their drug use.

When doctors and patients choose not to take a drug because of its risks, drug sales plummet. Thus, it can be quite lucrative for drug manufacturers to downplay or even fail to advertise their products' potential risks despite this being a dishonest act and a violation of their product liability. Drug manufacturers are liable for the damages victims suffer from using their products, which can be sought through defective drug claims.

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Abilify is the name brand of the medication aripirazole. Aripirazole is the medicine used to treat mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, severe mental depression and schizophrenia. No evidence has been released that proves that the drug does not do what it is intended to do, but there are some unexpected side effects of taking this medication about which many patients have filed lawsuits. These unexpected side effects primarily include the development or exacerbation of compulsive behavior, according to the British Journal of Psychology, sometimes in patients in whom compulsive behavior had not bee observed prior to taking Abilify.

When the drug first hit the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made no warnings that the medicine could induce compulsive behavior. According to the FDA, possible side effects of Abilify included high blood sugar and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). NMS can result in “high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, changes in pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure.” Because Abilify functions as an anti-depressant, the FDA also made note that the medicine could lead to increased thoughts of suicide during initial stages of being on the medication.

Yet in 2014, studies began to surface that revealed Abilify, or aripirazole, was linked to an increased risk of compulsive behavior, seen most prominently through proof of pathological gambling in patients who were regularly taking Abilify. Medical professionals thought this was because Abilify acts at the D3 receptor in the limbic system, it may over-stimulate the reward system of the brain. Stimulation of the reward system in your brain is what leads people to compulsive behavior such as pathological gambling.

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A generic drug is an essential option for Americans, as it is sold at a lower cost than a name brand product. In fact, the FDA notes that generic brands can be as much as 85 percent lower in price. However, these lower prices are a direct result of several factors. One of these factors is that generic drug manufacturers are not required to “repeat the costly clinical trials of new drugs.”

With that said, FDA is responsible for protecting public health by “assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.” Under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the “introduction or delivery for introduction” of an any adulterated drug “into interstate commerce” is prohibited. However, there are instances where manufacturers, generic and name brand, circumnavigate the protections in place and thus manufacture, and even distribute, faulty drugs.

One such example of this, according to the FDA, was in 2012, when the United States Department of Justice stepped in to handle several injunctions brought against Ranbaxy, a generic drug manufacturer and Indian corporation. The DOJ, on behalf of the FDA, filed a consent decree of permanent injunction against Ranbaxy and its subsidiary Ranbaxy Inc. for drugs that had been known for non-compliance with U.S. FDA regulations and for falsifying information. The severity of these types of situations was well noted by Stuart F. Delery, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. He stated, “When companies sell adulterated drugs, they undermine the integrity of the FDA's approval process and may cause patients to take drugs that are substandard, ineffective, or unsafe.”

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