Can Drug Companies Be Liable for Adverse Side Effects?

Unfortunately, in today’s world, dangerous drugs are marketed and sold everyday.  Drug companies often market dangerous drugs putting their profits over their consumers’ safety.  These “medications” can cause dangerous and damaging side effects.  Many of us have or have loved ones who have had a negative effects from a drug or medical device that they were given.  Personally, I have a close friend who recently underwent a complete hip replacement who has suffered from severe and debilitating pain as a result.  I know others who have trusted commercials they saw on TV and then sought out certain medical drugs or treatments believing them to be safe, only to later learn that the side effects of the drug were worse than what they sought treatment for.

Thankfully, in many cases, the companies behind marketing and manufacturing these drugs can be held liable for dangerous side effects.  These companies owe certain duties to their customers, such as the duty to warn of known dangers.  For example, manufactures must warn consumers of all known drug dangers that were learned during the testing of their products.  Sadly, not all dangers are learned during the testing phase, often because the tests are not rigorous enough.  What makes this even worse, is that drug companies are not held liable for unknown dangers.  However, the company’s duty to warn of dangers is ongoing, thus, once the company does learn of a potentially dangerous side effect, even if it is after the drugs release, they have a duty to disclose the adverse effects.  For example, it was recently learned that certain diabetes medications could cause severe joint pain.  These patients are beginning to sue the drug manufacturer for this dangerous and regrettable side effect.

Drug companies are not the only party who can be held liable for these negative side effects.  Doctors and pharmacists have a duty to understand the drugs they proscribe, warn of side effects, and be aware of known conditions in the patient that could exacerbate the adverse effects.   Courts have often held doctors and pharmacists responsible as they are are considered “learned intermediaries” in the eyes of the law.

This only scratches the surface of who may be responsible and for what in the medical field.  If you or a loved one has suffered from negative side effects attributable to a medication or medical device, we encourage you to contact one of the experienced attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, for a FREE consultation to discuss your case and your options: 618.641.9189 (IL) | 314.312.2930 |


Product Liability