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What Should You Do if You’ve Been Exposed to a Defective Drug?

Posted in Blog on June 10, 2020

As human beings, getting sick is just part of our experience. However, with the dawn of modern medicine, we now have the ability to be seen by a doctor, diagnosed, and often, prescribed medicines that can help us to feel better more quickly and more effectively than simply living with an ailment, waiting it out, or worse, suffering dire consequences. 

The problem is that, many times, the drugs that we are prescribed by our healthcare providers are automatically presumed to be vetted and safe. After all, in the United States, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has a process for approving drugs before they’re available to the masses. 

Sometimes, however, even after a drug has been vigorously tested and out in the market for quite some time, important findings can trickle in— even if it’s thought to be generally safe. This can include a number of different side effects being reported, and studies coming back showing that the drug is potentially defective, does more harm than good, or even contain a higher potency than previously thought. 

So, what typically happens when a drug is identified as defective? If the drug is found to be harmful, to contain unidentified compounds or things that weren’t previously disclosed, or thought to cause side effects that were either undocumented or particularly harmful, drugs can be recalled. 

According to the FDA, “a drug recall is the most effective way to protect the public from a defective or potentially harmful product. A recall is a voluntary action taken by a company to remove a defective drug product from the market. Drug recalls may be conducted on a company’s own initiative or by FDA request. FDA’s role in a recall is to oversee a company’s strategy, assess the adequacy of the recall and classify the recall.”

What’s important to remember is that recalls may not always happen until a later date, if at all, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding a particular drug. However, that doesn’ mean that you haven’t been exposed to a dangerous, potentially damaging medication. 

So, what should you do if you’re concerned about a drug that you, or a loved one, has taken that could be potentially defective? 

  1. See your healthcare provider
    Especially if a drug has not yet been recalled, it’s important to relay your experiences to your doctor or healthcare provider. They will be able to walk you through the necessary steps to stop taking the drug, as well as assess any short or long-term damage that the drug has caused. Equally as important, your healthcare provider can prescribe necessary alternatives, as needed, that can take the place of any drugs that have been deemed harmful.
  2. Document your experiences
    It’s important for you to have a record of a number of different things when you suspect that a drug is defective. First, you’ll want to keep a record of when you go see your doctor, their thoughts on the health repercussions, and any additional notes that could help you to better understand your experience through their eyes. You’ll also want to document time taken off of work for appointments, any times you’re unable to work for resulting health reasons, any dollar amounts spent on treatments, etc. 
  3. Look up other people’s experiences
    Take the time to look up the reactions and experiences that others have had when it comes to taking the drug. Although their experience may be different from yours, this can give you an idea of whether there’s been a myriad of incidents involving the drug you think may be defective, or whether it’s more of an isolated incident. Either way, connecting with others going through the same things as you can help you to feel like you’re not alone, to gain valuable information, and to gain additional educational resources. 
  4. Contact a personal injury attorney
    Even if you’re not quite sure that a drug is truly defective, by contacting an attorney that is familiar with the space, you can learn the pros and cons of legally pursuing the matter. Even more, you can learn more about what your options are, any timelines that you need to follow if you choose to pursue legal action, and more. 

When it comes to most drugs, there are always a certain number of potential side effects and risks that you accept when taking them to solve your ailments. However, when a drug is harmful to you or your loved ones, it’s important to understand any health repercussions that you may be facing, as well as your options. Often, it’s possible to get compensated for any time taken off of work due to the results of taking the drug, pain & suffering, and more. However, the best way to do this is to get in touch with a lawyer who knows the space and more importantly, can guide you through any options you might have.