Understanding Pharmaceutical Liability-What Is It?

Many people use prescription drugs every day. Unfortunately, at times, consumers may be harmed by prescription drugs. When a consumer is harmed, the area of the law referred to as pharmaceutical liability law works to protect them. Drug manufacturers have a duty to test drugs for safety before they are released to consumers. Testing is conducted according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

If a drug proves to be defective, however, the manufacturer may be liable even in circumstances when the drug has been approved by the FDA. Drug manufacturers are required to warn of known dangers, or side effects, of a drug but are not required to warn of unknown dangers. Often the duty to warn is fulfilled through pharmacists and physicians.

Drugs are generally initially tested in labs on animals to determine how the drug works and if it is likely to work well and safely in humans. Following the initial determination of safety, the drug may then be tested on humans to determine it is effective to treat a disease. The FDA will then review a variety of pieces of information submitted by the drug company, including proposed labeling for the drug, and if the health benefits of the drug outweigh known risks, the drug can be approved for sale.

When a victim has suffered an injury because of a dangerous or defective drug, a product liability lawsuit may help the victim recover damages for the harm suffered. Negligent drug manufacturers, marketing firms, and physicians may all be subject to liability depending on specific circumstances. Additionally, pharmaceutical product liability lawsuits can be complex and require expert testimony to pursue. As such, it is important to have a solid understanding of pharmaceutical liability law, as well as a firm grasp of the process when pursuing, or defending against, defective or dangerous drug claims.

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