Whether you take medicine regularly or you only take it when you need it, we all trust that medications prescribed to us by our physicians are safe to consume. What happens, however, when a drug you’ve been prescribed causes a catastrophic accident, or you have a severe reaction that results in injury or even death? In these cases, a Georgia product liability claim may be appropriate.
In a recent 11th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, the court considered a drug products liability case involving a drug manufacturer’s failure to warn a patient of a drug’s risks. The plaintiff in question suffered from a catastrophic stroke, which left her paralyzed and her cognitive functions significantly impaired. After consuming an oral contraceptive from the defendant manufacturer, a drug known to increase the risk of blood clots that could result in strokes, the court considered whether the plaintiff had enough evidence that the defendant manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings of the risk of stroke for the drug. On appeal, the court held that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the defendant manufacturer inadequately warned of the potential risks associated with the drug and granted judgment in favor of the defendants.
In typical failure-to-warn products liability cases in Georgia, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to warn the plaintiff of any risks, that the defendant breached this duty, and that the breach resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. When the product at issue is a prescription drug, however, the drug manufacturer does not have a duty to warn patients of potential dangers of a product directly, but instead has a duty to warn the patient’s doctor instead. According to Georgia law, a patient’s treating physician is better positioned to warn patients than the manufacturer since physicians must assess medical risks in light of the patient’s needs and health before prescribing medication.