Patients trust that the medications they take are safe. They trust the doctor who prescribed the medication, the manufacturer who produces it, the pharmacist who is responsible for the prescription, and the pharmacy support staff that actually fills the prescription. But there is much room for error in this system. According to U.S. News and World Report, adverse drug reactions are estimated to result in 1.5 to 2.7 million hospitalizations every year. That is nearly three million innocent patients who are injured every year, simply by following medication orders. Even more concerning are the statistics related to medication errors among the elderly (an especially vulnerable population of patients). The World Health Organization reports on a study that found 12% of primary care patients were affected by medication errors. This figure more than tripled (to 38%) among patients aged 75 or older.
The law protects patients from medical malpractice, dangerous drug manufacturing, and other forms of medical negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous drug, it is critical that you seek legal advice from an experienced Atlanta pharmaceutical attorney as soon as possible. You have important legal rights that must be protected.Who is Responsible for an Injury Caused by a Dangerous Drug?
There are many different parties that might be responsible for injuries caused by a dangerous drug. The legal standard is negligence. Who was negligent in allowing you to take the dangerous drug? Often, this is the manufacturer. Pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to ensure medications are safe. This means that the manufacturer must thoroughly test the medication and comply with all safety standards (such as regulations enacted by the Food and Drug Administration). Even once a drug has been tested and approved by the FDA, the manufacturer must continue to be vigilant about safety. Individual batches of medication can become contaminated. Improper strength or dosing can make the medication dangerous. Even something as simple as incorrect labelling can put innocent victims in danger. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have a legal obligation to prevent all types of foreseeable negligence. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for the injuries caused by that negligence.
Manufacturers are not the only ones who owe a legal duty of care to patients taking prescribed medications. Other health providers are also involved throughout the prescription process, and they, too, must protect patients from bad drugs. For example, a doctor who prescribes a drug with known dangers can be found negligent. Doctors have a duty to take reasonable steps to learn about medications that are known to be dangerous and avoid prescribing these medications to their patients. A hospital or practice group that employs such a doctor can also be held liable for his or her negligence.
Pharmacies, too, can be negligent with respect to dangerous drugs. A pharmacy and its staff are often the last line of defense for a patient being exposed to a dangerous drug. This means that the management, pharmacists, and support staff must all use reasonable care to avoid exposing patients to the risks of dangerous drugs. Pharmacy management must put reasonable safety protocols in place to ensure that medications are handled properly.
Pharmacists must use their professional judgment to ensure that each patient receives the correct dose of the correct medication. Pharmacists may also have an obligation to flag dangerous medications and prevent a prescription from being filled before it can harm a patient. Support staff must act as a safeguard to ensure that the right patient receives the right medication. As you can see, it processing a prescription is a detailed process, and negligence can occur at any stage. When it does, it is important for pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy support staff to be held accountable for the injuries they cause. This protects other innocent victims from being harmed.What are my Legal Rights After Being Injured by a Dangerous Drug?
As with other personal injuries, a victim injured by a dangerous drug has the right to be compensated for all injuries and legal losses that were caused by the drug. This can include past medical bills that have already been paid, future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred, lost wages, any decrease in future earning potential, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other financial losses that are directly attributable to the medication.
Your legal right to compensation is part of another important legal right: holding a person (or company) accountable for the injuries they have caused. Without accountability, negligence will continue, and other innocent victims can be hurt in the same manner. This is especially problematic in the area of dangerous drugs. Patients trust that they are being prescribed safe medications to be taken in a safe manner. They trust that the manufacturer will safely deliver the correct medication to a pharmacy. They trust that the pharmacy has safety protocols in place to ensure that the pharmacists and pharmacy support staff will safely fill the prescription. When doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, pharmacists, or pharmacy support staff violate this trust, they expose patients to unnecessary danger. It is important that they be held accountable for their negligence to prevent other patients from being exposed to similar danger in the future.Aggressive Representation of Dangerous Drug Cases
At Slappey & Sadd, our Georgia dangerous drug lawyers can help protect your legal rights. Victims of dangerous drugs have the right to be compensated for their injuries, and they also have the right to hold negligent drug manufacturers and medical professionals accountable for the harm they cause. Our experienced attorneys have spent decades protecting the rights of Georgia injury victims, and they know how to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for dangerous drugs. Call 404.255.6677 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today. Don’t delay - your claim can be barred by a statute of limitations if you do not file a claim on time. Let our experienced attorneys and professional support staff help you access the justice you deserve.