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When can drug side effects be the basis of a lawsuit?

| Jun 15, 2018 | Medical Product Liability

As those who read this blog can probably guess, many drugs on the market are not safe in the strict sense of the word, even if they happen to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

In many cases, though, the danger in a manner of speaking comes with the territory. Many medicines carry with them serious side effects that are commonly known. One need only think of a cancer patient who has to undergo chemotherapy to recognize this.

In these sorts of situations, the idea is that the patient, after consulting with medical professionals, is willing to accept the risks and side effects of taking a medicine in order to treat the underlying condition, even if the side effects are very serious themselves. Ordinarily, these are not the sort of cases that are the subject of medical product liability claims.

On the other hand, even when a patient might be prepared to accept the risks of taking a drug, the manufacturer still has an obligation to warn the public, and especially those who might prescribe or dispense the drug, of all possible side effects, even those that might be thought of as rare.

Moreover, the manufacturer, and not the federal government, ultimately has the responsibility to continue to monitor the performance of its medical products that are on the market and, as necessary, warn of additional side effects that become apparent.

It’s one thing for a Georgia patient to take a potent medicine being fully advised of the possible side effects, but it is quite another when that patient gets completely taken off guard by those risks. In the latter case, a patient may have a right to seek compensation from the manufacturer of the drug.