Bay Area Pharmaceutical Product Liability Attorney
In addition to Bay Area aviation accident related litigation, Sterns & Walker also represents people who have been harmed by dangerous or defective drugs throughout the United States, or by pharmaceuticals produced by U.S. companies that end up causing harm overseas (“dumping”).
We take medicine for our health; the last thing we expect is to be harmed by medicine. Yet new drugs are constantly being placed on the market, with millions of advertising dollars invested into convincing us we need this drug, only to find out later the drug has unsafe side effects that can permanently disable or even kill. And the FDA has time and time again shown its inability to protect from many of these side effects.
Manufacturers of unsafe products are often held strictly liable for the damage they cause, without requiring proof of negligence or fault. Drug companies can be held liable for:
- Manufacturing dangerous drugs
- Manufacturing defective drugs
- Improperly marketing drugs, especially using “detailers” to push drugs for use by doctors in inappropriate ways.
- Inadequate of incorrect warnings or instructions
- Also, drug makers often do not fully disclose known or suspected side effects fully to the FDA, so the drugs get into the public domain, only to have flaws revealed by injuries and follow-up lawsuits.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates, approves, and further regulates sales and use of new medicines. Yet this system is not fool-proof. Sometimes, an approved drug may be manufactured in a facility which is not FDA-regulated. This was the case recently with Heparin, a blood-thinning drug which has been around for 80 years and is used in hospitals around the country on a daily basis. Pharmaceutical company Baxter, a maker of Heparin, produced large quantities of the drug in a Chinese facility which was not under the FDA’s jurisdiction, and these doses proceeded to cause hundreds of serious health problems and even several deaths. There are many other examples, most recently Vioxx and Phen-fen.
Another dangerous practice is off-label use. Doctors sometimes prescribe prescription medicine for a use other than that for which it is intended. Often, drug companies aggressively market their drugs to doctors for a variety of non-approved uses. For example, a drug may be approved to treat chronic pain, but later be marketed as a treatment for acute pain as well, and at higher dosage levels than the original FDA approval. These off-label uses can then cause serious side effects, such as heart attacks and strokes. This precise scenario happened with a drug known as Bextra. Bextra was taken off the market in 2005, and the legal fallout from the scandal continues to this day. We have extensive experience with this in the aggressive pushing by what are called “detailers” from the pharmaceutical companies, of high-powered drugs that should be very restricted in use, for all sorts of other and often minor ailments. Chloramphenicol (Parke-Davis) was a classic example of this. Supposedly designed for serious resistant conditions such as Rocky Mountain fever from ticks, it was pushed for many things. It had a serious side effect – aplastic anemia – which was often fatal.
Current Cases: Baxter Heparin Alert
The firm is reviewing and screening potential cases who have developed serious side effects from the use of what may have been adulterated, contaminated and otherwise defective Heparin, a blood thinner, produced and distributed by Baxter International, a large pharmaceutical concern located in Chicago. If you or a loved one has been injured with this product and have encountered any problems, contact us now.
If you or a member of your family has been harmed by dangerous or defective drugs, due to pharmaceutical industry misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Sterns & Walker today for an initial consultation.