Drugs and Medical Devices - An Overview

The accomplished lawyers at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP have handled numerous cases involving NuvaRing, Fleets Phospho Soda, Kugel Mesh and other drug liability and medical device liability claims. If you or a loved has suffered due to this type of negligence, our attorneys are here to help you explore your legal options.

The costs of defective drugs and medical devices are great. Having defective drugs and medical devices on the market can lead to significant health risks for consumers, including serious injury, disabilities and hospitalization. In some cases, injuries lead to more invasive surgeries than were originally necessary to correct the damage caused by the defect. Some defective prescription drugs and medical devices can even cause death. Fatal injuries resulting from tainted or flawed medications or devices have been on the rise in the past decade. The increase has led to drugs being pulled off the market, class action lawsuits, safety concerns and liability issues because we, as a society, want to know who is at fault. If you believe you may have a claim against a drug or medical device manufacturer, you should not hesitate to seek legal advice from a lawyer at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP with experience in this area.

Defective drugs and medical devices

There have been many cases involving defective drugs and medical devices in recent years. In an age of advanced medical knowledge, technology, product research and FDA testing it seems that this should not be the case. Why, then, are class actions involving prescription drugs and medical devices on the rise?

There are actually a number of possible reasons for the increase in lawsuits involving these products. One reason that will always be present is human error. Human error could happen at any point while developing and manufacturing medications and medical devices, as well as during the quality control or distribution stages of the process.

Another possible reason for defects is that the goal for any company is to make a profit — drug and other medical device manufacturers are no different. Patents, research, development, testing and government approval take time and money. Companies sometimes fail to disclose negative information (like failed clinical trials, for example) to move the process along towards approval. Once a product is approved, the company gains more time with their product on the market reaping the benefits of their development costs.

Accordingly, there is also pressure on the government, particularly the FDA, to approve drugs and medical devices faster. Many lobbyists, patient advocacy groups, physicians and drug companies want to make it easier to bring new drugs and devices into the market. Those suffering from disease or other medical aliments hope to seek benefits from new products as soon as they can. Any of these reasons may contribute to the development and release of defective drugs and medical devices into the stream of commerce. Once a medical product is approved by the FDA and made available to consumers, though, any underlying defects or harmful effects of the products could become apparent. These defects cost consumers and companies alike.

Who is liable?

The liability for a drug or medical device defect differs depending on the individual facts of your case. If the defect is in the design, development or manufacturing of the medical product, the manufacturer may be liable. Generally, if claims are against the manufacturer they will be for strict liability or negligence. Strict liability focuses on whether the medical product is unreasonably unsafe to consumers. Negligence cases focus on development, manufacturing and quality control of a medical product. It must be determined whether the manufacturer was responsible for the defect and the injury that occurred.

If the drug or medical product is not shown to be defective or unreasonably unsafe due to manufacturing, the physician or pharmacist may be at fault. Doctors sometimes use medications for unapproved purposes, known as "off-labeling." Although this practice is technically legal, injuries may result when incorrect dosages are prescribed, contradictory medications are used or the patients are not warned of the dangers associated with an unapproved treatment.

Pharmacists may also be liable for failing to warn consumers of the dangers associated with a prescription. Other pharmacy liabilities include incorrect labeling, dispensing the wrong dosage and insufficient instructions. If you feel you have been injured by a defective medical product, physician negligence or pharmacist error, contact an attorney today.

Contact a products liability lawyer

Unfortunately, sometimes the medications and other medical products we rely on to improve our health may do the opposite. If you have suffered injury from a defective drug or medical device, do not wait to take action. Plaintiffs who have claims for damages they suffered as a result of using a defective drug or medical device in NY should consult an attorney at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP as soon as they are aware of the resulting injuries to avoid the possibility that the time for bringing suit will expire.

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