It is no secret that pharmaceutical companies put profits above all else, including the lives of the patients they serve. One need look only to the recent press related to drug makers jacking up their prices exponentially for no good reason other than greed.
Then look a little forward at the many drug makers that knowingly put dangerous drugs on the market without proper warnings to innocent patients. Look a little further still and you will find many of those same companies engaging in off label marketing where existing drugs are prescribed for purposes other than what they were approved or created often times with devastating consequences.
Protect Yourself if You Can!
The “if you can” portion is the part that is problematic. Sure you should talk to your medical provider and your pharmacist about the uses, dangers and risks associated with the drug. The problem is that they will typically only discuss the risks on the label. In fact, the drug makers often conceal the risks even to the medical providers and pharmacist. For instance, as in the case of risperidone, the established risks are not on the label.
Worse yet, there are some medical providers, that are complicit in the off label marketing of drugs sometimes in ignorance of the risks, other times despite the risks. This is a small group of what can only be described as immoral medical providers who are paid by drug makers for their contributions to the drug maker’s illegitimate profits.
Legal Claims for these Practices
Unfortunately, patients often do not know of the risks and dangers until it is too late, they have already suffered harm from risks known by the drug makers and sometimes the medical providers. The only possible course of action at that point is to seek fair and full compensation for the harm.
These claims can be very daunting. This is especially true of the early cases against the drug makers where the dangers and resulting harm are suspected but not yet well-established. This is due to the incredible costs and difficulty in pursuing these claims. Even where the risks and associated injuries are well established, they are still very difficult and expensive to pursue.
As a result, these cases are almost always include claims all across the country through what is called multi-district litigation. And without these, there is little chance of a medical malpractice claim against the aforementioned medical providers
Multi-District Ligations of Lawsuits Against Pharmaceutical Companies
These claims are so big and expensive that they are almost always handled through multi-district litigation. This means that there will be one state and court where the cases are all collected to insure consistency in rulings as well as the efficient management of the case. It also allows for many attorneys to pool resources to go after the drug companies where it would be extremely if not impossible without a collective effort.
Medical Malpractice for Knowingly Prescribing Dangerous Drugs without Proper Warnings to the Patient
In cases where medical providers have knowingly prescribed potentially dangerous drugs without full and proper disclosure of the risks, including the fact of off-label marketing, there may be a medical malpractice claim against the medical provider.
For these, it has to be shown that the medical provider knew of the risks and failed to disclose it. In those cases where the medical providers conspired with drug makers in the knowing distribution of dangerous drugs and/or off label marketing of these drugs despite knowledge of increased risks, there would be fairly clear liability.
However, this may be difficult to prove since these records are not readily available and the fact that it is always a challenge to prove knowledge of something. In addition, there is the afore-mentioned problem of drug makers actively concealing risks. There are databases coming online that show these payments by drug makers to medical providers. However, it is not clear that these are complete and these payments might not be sufficient in any event. Time will tell.