Medicines form the very basis of a healthy living. Why we take medicines, reasons are as varied as there are medicines in the market. Be it for common illnesses that we face in everyday life such as common cold or a headache, or for major, life threatening conditions such as cancer, one thing is constant - advent of new diseases & conditions and inventions of new drugs. While it is no doubt that these medicines have saved many lives and has provided a cure for so many diseases, which were until recently incurable, more often than not, these drugs come with a side effect. Sometimes these side effects may cause more problems than the initial problem on hand! Shocking as it may sound; at times these medicines may also be defective, thereby causing more harm instead of the promised cure. It is estimated that around 100,000 people are killed due to medical negligence every year, making it about a shocking 274 people a day! For instance, Accutane, an oral drug developed by the LaRoche Company used for treatment of the most severe form of acne is known to cause Crohn's Disease, Hepatoxicity, and Ulcerative Colitis. In severe cases, it may also cause kidney and liver damage. In fact, recently a 24 year old woman was awarded $10.5 million in a case involving acne medication Accutane by the New Jersey state-court.
The healthcare industry finds parallels with the education industry. They both hold a responsible position in the society. The recipients of their services look upto them with respect, trust and hope. A hope based on the belief that they help improve the quality of living. This very trust and hope demand from this industry a very high degree of societal responsibility, transparency and integrity. Though there may be governing bodies such as the FDA and regulatory compliance framework such as GxP (GMP, GLP & GCP), none may be as effective as collective social awareness and judicial activism, in making sure that the industry stake holders play by the rule in both letter and spirit.
Medical devices which are not manufactured properly may cause damage to the patients using it. For instance, a recent study reveals that the Shoulder Pain pumps used to deliver pain medication to the shoulder following arthroscopic shoulder surgery, may deliver too much medicine causing a loss of cartilage thereby leading to permanent pain, loss of mobility, and other complications. One also hears of medical malpractice cases in which doctors or pharmacists do not properly warn patients of the possible harmful side effects of medical devices or drugs. In such cases, the drug companies or doctor (as the case may be) can be held accountable.
It is the basic right of every individual to expect that the medication they take has been manufactured with adequate care, complies with the regulatory framework and has been correctly labeled. Warning of any side effects needs to be printed prominently. By virtue of law, an individual who has been wronged due to negligence or malpractice has the right to seek legal help for any injuries or damages sustained as a result of negligence. In fact, physicians and health care providers in the US are ensured for these risks, in much the same way as one has a third party insurance for driving.
Filing a lawsuit can be emotionally a nerve-racking experience, as can finding a qualified attorney. There are an endless number of forms to fill, tons of paperwork to complete, and a lot of legal jargon to read, which may seem Greek and Latin to a layman. One needs a qualified and professional attorney who can provide help and guidance at every step. Ennis & Ennis is a national mass tort law firm with offices based out of Washington DC, Miami, and Ft. Lauderdale. It works with law firms nationwide, providing its clients the best possible representation to protect their legal rights and maximize their remedies under the law.