What doctors can achieve with prescription medication is often quite incredible. There are medications that help people lose weight and stop having seizures. Other medications can control blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart attack and help people manage chronic medical conditions.
For many physicians, their prescription pad is their first line of defense when someone comes in complaining of certain symptoms. They will recommend a drug that can at least treat the symptoms, if not the underlying condition that caused them. Patients tend to trust the decisions made by their physicians and also the medications themselves, as medications in the U.S. are highly regulated.
Unfortunately, sometimes, doctors recommend medications that may do more harm than good.
Some drugs are more dangerous than others
There are cases where physicians recommend medication that would theoretically help a patient but instead do harm. Such cases might involve an unknown allergy. Other times, people just have adverse reactions to certain medications.
However, sometimes the medications that doctors recommend don’t have a high success rate for a specific condition, aren’t approved to treat that condition or likely will do more harm than good. For example, some doctors for years have prescribed the drug Lupron to women with endometriosis. This drug can potentially have some positive medical effects, including a reduction in overall symptoms and decreased pain during intimacy with a partner.
However, the laundry list of side effects makes those limited benefits seem questionable at best. In addition to the long-known issues including bone density loss, heart damage, blood sugar issues and hot flashes, doctors have recently added vision impairment to the laundry list of side effects caused by this drug. There are countless other examples of medications that may not benefit the patient and stand a good chance of harming them.
Who is to blame when a medication harms a patient?
There could be numerous layers of liability involved in a scenario wherein a medication harms a patient. Obviously, the prescribing physician could have some culpability if they failed to discuss the risks or likelihood of success of the medication with the patient.
Doctors may also be legally responsible for harm when they knowingly use the medication for an unstudied purpose. Although off-label prescribing is common practice, doctors typically need to be able to defend their choice to use a medication in a certain manner. Patients may be able to file a claim against a doctor’s medical malpractice insurance or take them to court when certain prescription scenarios cause harm.
The facility that employed the physician could also be liable. In some cases, even the manufacturer of the drug could be assigned partial liability. Carefully evaluating the medical circumstances that led to someone’s injury and the history of their use of the medication in question can help those who are hoping to pursue a claim after an injury caused by a dangerous drug.