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Suing Big Pharma

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Let's be honest, many consumers don't have a lot of faith in giant pharmaceutical companies right now. Between the constant barrage of television ads with never-ending lists of side effects to new stories every day about supposedly life-saving drugs that turn out deadly. And that's without even mentioning the rampant price-gouging.

While lawsuit based on a drug's price are few and far between (and difficult to prove or win), lawsuits based on a drug's danger are far more common. Here are three ways to sue big pharma based on pharmaceutical drug liability:

1. Defects in Design

A design defect refers to the unreasonable risk a product poses to consumers even if it is manufactured and used as intended. These are foreseeable risks, and a company could be held liable if it knew about and ignored these risks. In some jurisdictions, however, you may also need to prove a company could have adopted a reasonable alternative design.

Design defect lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are rare, unless there is no safe use of a drug.

2. Defects in Manufacturing

A manufacturing defect refers to a mistake in the production of a well-designed product that introduces a new danger to consumers. A company can be held liable if the manufacture departs from the intended design.

In the case of pharmaceutical companies, a bottle of prescription medication could be contaminated at a processing facility. This happened recently when GlaxoSmithKline had to pay $41 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to settle lawsuits about bad drugs manufactured at the company's former factory in Puerto Rico.

3. Defects in Warnings

A warning defect refers to a company's failure to properly warn consumers of known risks in using its products. A company can be held liable for providing inadequate warnings, inaccurate warnings, or no warnings at all.

This is the most common cause of pharmaceutical company lawsuits, as consumers sue for prescription drug side effects.

If you've been injured by a prescription medication or other pharmaceutical product, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to review your case.

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