Prescription drugs enable millions of Americans to enjoy longer, healthier, happier lives. However, certain medications cause more harm than they prevent. The World Health Organization reports that pharmaceutical companies spend about twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development, and in some cases, dangerous drugs are rushed to the market before their potential health hazards have been fully revealed.
If you or one of your loved ones suffered from complications after being prescribed a drug by your doctor, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost earnings, your medical bills, the pain and suffering you have endured, and other hardships and losses caused by the medication. The Oklahoma City pharmaceutical litigation attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook may be able to help.
With more than 75 years of combined legal experience, our knowledgeable and innovative legal team has achieved favorable outcomes for countless clients. We will do everything in our power to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation today. We handle claims throughout the Oklahoma City area, including El Reno, Guthrie, Norman, Moore, Edmond, Shawnee, and more.
How Are Prescription Drugs Regulated by the FDA? Can Approved Drugs Be Unsafe?
Prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The process begins when a pharmaceutical company tests its new drug on animals. If nothing goes seriously wrong at this stage, the company submits to the FDA an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Once the FDA approves the IND application, the company can start testing the drug on humans in clinical trials.
After testing is complete, the FDA reviews data from the clinical trials. If the FDA determines that the drug’s benefits are greater than its risks, the drug will be approved. After a drug has been approved, the FDA continues to monitor its use. If any previously unknown health risks become apparent, which may happen after a period of months or even years, the FDA can either:
- Require the company to alter the drug’s warning labels to include the new information.
- Pull the drug from the market.
While regulation is critical, a stamp of approval from the FDA does not necessarily indicate that a drug is completely safe for use. In fact, the FDA itself openly acknowledges various shortcomings in its system for regulating drugs for consumer safety. To quote the FDA, “The number of people in a clinical trial of a new drug is usually small in comparison to the number of people who may take the drug if it reaches the market. This makes it difficult to detect rare side effects.” The FDA states that it is “impossible to anticipate all bad reactions,” noting further that “[a] drug’s effect on the patient may change over the course of years.”
Pressure from pharmaceutical companies, omissions of fact, and the downplaying of adverse effects all undermine the FDA’s efforts to keep prescription drugs safe. Vioxx, a former Merck drug, is a fairly recent example of this very scenario. Once hugely popular, Vioxx was recalled in 2004 after it came to light that clinical studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine omitted vital information about an increased risk of stroke or heart attack. Tens of thousands of preventable deaths were eventually attributed to Vioxx.
Did You Suffer From Medical Complications After Being Prescribed a Dangerous or Defective Medication?
Nearly all medications have mild side effects, such as dry mouth or nausea. While these sorts of risks are temporary and essentially harmless, other medications are associated with major long-term health hazards. In some cases, the risks of taking the medication far outweigh the actual condition it treats. For instance, Accutane can treat acne – but it comes at the price of potential liver damage.
The following risks and complications have all been documented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- Accutane (Isotretinoin)
- Other Brands – Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret
- Treats – Acne
- Risks – Liver problems, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Depakote (Valproic Acid)
- Other Brands – Depakene, Stavzor, Valproic
- Treats – Migraines, seizures, bipolar disorder
- Risks – Pancreatitis, liver problems
- Paxil (Paroxetine)
- Other Brands – Brisdelle, Pexeva
- Treats – Anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Risks – Increased susceptibility to bleeding and bone fractures
- Prednisone (Deltasone)
- Treats – Arthritis, blood disorders, allergies, eye problems
- Risks – Long-term use can result in cataracts, glaucoma, reduced bone density (osteoporosis), and delayed growth in children
- Propecia (Finasteride)
- Treats – Benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate), male hair loss
- Risks – Increased risk of prostate cancer
- Other Brands – Jantoven, Coumadin
- Treats – Blood clots, complications of heart attack
- Risks – Gangrene and skin necrosis
- Xarelto (Rivaroxaban)
- Treats – Blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis
- Risks – Can cause nerve damage if the patient undergoes a spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
- Yaz/Yasmin Birth Control
- Treats – Prevents pregnancy
- Risks – Pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs)
- Zofran (Ondansetron)
- Other Brands – Zuplenz
- Treats – Nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness
- Risks – Birth defects
Contact an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer of Hasbrook & Hasbrook
If you suffered adverse effects after taking a medication prescribed by your doctor, you should consult with a defective drug lawyer about the options that may be available to you. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation.
To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. We are here to help you understand your rights as an injury victim in Oklahoma.