Articles Posted in Dangerous Drugs

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.

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In 2010, Stewart Dolin, 52 years old and a co-chairman of Reed Smith’s corporate and securities group in Chicago left his office for lunch and proceeded to make his way to the nearby train station. As the train prepared for arrival, Dolin took a step in front of it, ending his life and leaving behind his wife and two children. While this was determined to be a suicide, there was a distinct variable that Dolin’s wife, Wendy, noted shortly after his death. According to her, six days prior to his untimely death, Dolin began taking a generic form of the anti-depressant “Paxil”. She accused GlaxcoSmithKline, the distributor of the drug, of concealing certain side effects of taking Paxil, one of those being suicidal thoughts. While the label does suggest suicidal behavior as a potential for people 24 and under, there is no mention of it occurring in older adults.  When a plaintiff alleges that a drug manufacturer caused the death of a loved one, the type of lawsuit brought is called a wrongful death lawsuit.

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A Chicago mom is suing Walgreens for negligence over the death of her son, who died of a Vicodin overdose in August 2012. The suit claims that the doctor of John P. Oles, 29, had contacted Walgreen’s in 2010, requesting that pharmacists refrain from filling any prescriptions for Oles received from other doctors. According to the suit, Walgreens responded to the doctor’s warnings of Oles’ drug abuse by making a note in Oles’ file, while contining to fill prescriptions for the young man. Oles received Vicodin prescriptions from Walgreens for the following two years leading up to his death. The suit was filed in the Cook County courts last week. Walgreens has not commented.

More than 1.5 million people are injured each year in the U.S. due to medication errors, and about 7,000 are killed. When doctors or pharmacists make a mistake with prescription medications, the consequences can be fatal. Claims for prescription errors are often based on simple negligence, but can be attributed to professional malpractice. The following are the most common mistakes made by both doctors and pharmacies:

  • Failure to notify patient of possible side effects.

When a loved one is in need of medical care, it is important to research all the options and choose a provider you feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen, even with a carefully chosen healthcare provider.

Medical malpractice occurs when a provider, usually a doctor or hospital, fails to administer treatment that meets the customary standard of health care. Through medical negligence or misdiagnosis, malpractice may result in injury or wrongful death of a patient. In a medical malpractice case, the doctor, hospital, health facility, or government agency in charge of health care center may all be held accountable.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $91.7 million in malpractice claims, making this the largest judgment against a government agency in 12 years. Gross negligence, missed diagnoses, delayed treatment, and procedures performed on the wrong body parts were cited as the major medical mistakes of the government agency.

This is easier said than done.  Much of the work that goes into preparing a case for trial is getting to know our clients, their families, their friends — what makes them tick?  But this is only half of it.  You also have to get to know the wrongdoer just as well in order to determine their motivation for careless or intentional conduct.  Oftentimes, the wrongdoer is not even visible — it can be and often is a corporate culture of profits over worker or consumer safety.  The Trial Lawyers at McAleer Law work diligently to discovery the real story in a case.

The CDC says two more people have died, bringing the death total to 23. There are now 285 cases in 16 states.  Of these cases, 284 cases are “peripheral joint infections,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  One of the new deaths occurred in Tennessee and North Carolina had its first death related to the meningitis outbreak.  New cases occurred in Indiana (2)  New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (3), Tennessee (3) and Virginia (3).  Tennessee’s death toll has risen to 9, and state Department of Health officials reported 69 total cases across the state as of Saturday afternoon.

The 76 clinics in 23 states that received methylprednisolone acetate from the three lots recalled by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, have been instructed to notify all affected patients.  The CDC said the “potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21.”

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a dangerous and defective product or drug, contact the Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys at McAleer Law today — Call now 404-816-7374.

Bloomberg News (10/19/12) has reported that “Pfizer Inc. (PFE) reached a confidential settlement with the widow of a Minnesota man who killed himself after taking its anti-smoking drug Chantix [varenicline], averting a trial set to begin next week.”   The report goes on to say that “the widow of Mark Alan Whitely sued Pfizer after his death in November 2007, alleging the company failed to sufficiently warn that Chantix could increase the risk of suicide.  According to the report, this lawsuit was the first among more than 2,500 involving the drug Chantix. The lawsuit alleges that Chantix causes depression and other psychiatric disorders so severe that the patients attempt or commit suicide.

If you or a loved on has suffered because of a dangerous drug, contact an unsafe drug attorney for help.