According to a CDC report from 2019, nearly half of the United States population has used at least one prescription drug in a thirty day window. Similarly, nearly a quarter of the population used three or more prescription drugs in that same period. This means that in a month, roughly 164 million people are using prescription drugs.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as these prescriptions can be the difference between life and death. Even when they aren’t lifesaving, they often increase the comfort of living to an amazing degree. But this isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, prescription drugs can and do cause harm. If this should happen to you, it only makes sense that you’d want to know what to do and how you can get compensated for the damage done to you.
Does Being Harmed By a Prescription Drug Only Happen to Addicts?
No, absolutely not.
When people speak about being harmed by a prescription drug the first thing that crossed many minds is that the individual was abusing the drug. This belief is so prevalent that a Google search consistently returns articles about drug abuse and drug addiction, even with searches like “Can prescription drugs be harmful when used properly?”
Abusing prescription drugs is harmful but prescription drugs can also cause harm when used normally. Drug companies are supposed to meet safety standards to avoid harming those that use their products but there are many cases in which improperly tested medications have hit the shelves only to later be revealed to be harmful.
There are thousands of lawsuits against drug manufacturers from people who have been harmed by simply following the instructions on their prescription to the letter. Worse, there are many wrongful deaths that could have been avoided by more testing of the drugs or a different prescription.
Are There Any Examples of Prescription Drugs That Harmed Users?
There are many prescription drugs which proved to be so harmful, or potentially harmful, to users that they were actually recalled by the FDA. Even over the counter medications can be recalled from time to time, such as Zantac in 2020.
Notable examples include:
- Bromfenac: This painkiller caused multiple deaths and required several people to get liver transplants due to the damage it caused.
- Efalizumab: Used to treat psoriasis, this drug was found to cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a lethal disease that damages the brain and the central nervous system.
- Isotretinoin: This acne medication increased the risk of birth defects, miscarriages and premature deaths in pregnant women. It was also shown to cause suicidal ideation and inflammatory bowel disease. There have been over 7,000 lawsuits filed against the manufacturers.
- Levamisole: Intended to treat a range of conditions from worm infestation to breast cancer, this drug was shown to cause neutropenia, agranulocytosis and thrombotic vasculopathy.
- Pemoline: Designed to treat ADHD, Pemoline was shown to cause serious liver damage.
- Rofecoxib: Meant to treat arthritis, this drug greatly increased the risk of heart attack (and stroke) and was shown to be connected to almost 30,000 heart attacks. It was so dangerous that it was estimated that 4 in 1,000 people treated with it had a heart attack.
- Sibutramine: An appetite suppressant, Sibutramine greatly increased the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Terfenadine: Another drug which was shown to cause issues with the heart, most often proving fatal, when taken in conjunction with other popular medications. Pretty serious side effects for an antihistamine.
- Troglitazone: More than 35,000 lawsuits have been filed against the maker of this anti-inflammatory drug because of the shocking number of deaths by liver failure it caused.
What Damages Are Awarded in a Prescription Drug Lawsuit?
The cost of being sick in this country can be impossible for many people to deal with. That is why the best thing often is to seek damages from the manufacturer.
While there are a few different kinds of damages that may be awarded when you win a case against a drug manufacturer, the most common two are:
- Economic Damages: These are those costs which can easily be identified and added up. Hospital bills, doctor bills, the bill from any surgery you had to undertake, the cost of physical therapy, the cost of rehabilitation. Also in this category is any wages that you lost because of time you had to spend getting treatment rather than working, as well as any future earnings you will be missing due to the same or due to the fact that your medical condition has reduced the amount of time you can spend working.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are a little harder to wrap the head around because there isn’t a way to easily quantify them. These damages include compensation for the pain and the suffering that you went through because of the medication, both physical and mental. This means more than just mental pain related to the suffering, as it also includes things like the strain it put on your romantic relationships and your family. These are impossible to put a price on but they are a harm that the drug manufacturer caused you and therefore you should be compensated for them.
I Was Harmed By a Prescription Drug, What Do I Do Next?
If you were harmed by a prescription drug then chances are you’ve already taken care of the first step: to get help. Prescription drugs can cause irrevocable harm, as we’ve seen above, and it is important that you address the medical issues they have caused.
In doing so, you’ll likely find that you are now faced with struggles and costs that you were unprepared for. It isn’t right that you go through this pain alone and it isn’t right that the manufacturers that harmed you get away with it.
If you have been harmed by a prescription drug then you absolutely should speak to an attorney to see what can be done to help you get the compensation you deserve. We can help. Give us a call at (512) 922-6696 to see what we can do for you to make this experience easier and get you the justice you deserve.