In the United States, healthcare is a big business, generating billions of dollars in profits for manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. While we would like to believe that these companies are ethical and in business to help rather than harm, the reality is that they exist for the purpose of generating profits for shareholders along with staggeringly high salaries and bonuses for their CEOs.
As a result, manufacturers of drugs and medical devices are anxious to get their products on the market so they can see their earnings and share values rise. In their rush to realize riches, they often overlook dangers lurking behind their labels. Consequently, patients who had hoped for a cure or relief from their symptoms sometimes find themselves even sicker . . . and sometimes result in death. And while there is a government agency that is supposed to be regulating these industries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the clinical research results that they use to make a decision are typically provided by the manufacturer of the drug or device, so they rely on the integrity of the profit-driven provider. And once a drug or device is approved by the FDA for one purpose, doctors are allowed—and often encouraged by company sales representatives—to use them “off-label” for purposes other than the one for which they were approved. Sales reps often promote off-label prescribing aggressively, to the serious detriment of patients in all too many cases.
If you or a loved one have been injured or made seriously ill by a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, you may be able to recover significant compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. These companies are typically very wealthy and thus able to pay out large settlements, and they should be held accountable to those whom they harm. But they have sophisticated legal teams to defend against claims. To win the compensation you deserve will require having a skilled legal advocate fighting for you. In Texas, call the Austin law firm of Briggle & Polan, PLLC, for the experienced representation that can give you the best shot at the settlement or jury verdict that you deserve.
Instances of Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs
Read on to learn about some of the dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices that have been found to harm patients.
An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a device inserted into the venous system with a catheter. Its purpose is to stop blood clots from getting into the inferior vena cava, lungs, or heart. The inferior vena cava is the body’s largest blood vessel. The device is often used with patients who have had knee or hip replacements or cancer surgery and are at risk for clots, especially those with deep vein thrombosis, which elevates the possibility of traveling blood clots. It is particularly used on patients who cannot be given large doses on anticoagulants to prevent clots or who don’t respond to anticoagulants. But because it very frequently produces serious complications, the IVC filter is a dangerous tool, which can kill, and does in nearly 4 percent of those patients who use it. Some filters are permanent, while others are designed to be removable. Unfortunately, removing a filter—even one designed to be retrievable –is not always possible. Sometimes they move from their proper location or break, causing damage to the heart or other organs. They may also perforate the wall of the vena cava that they are meant to protect, cause a pulmonary embolism, or damage the veins leading to other vital organs. Common problems with the IVC filter include:
- Migration from the spot where it was inserted
- Filter cannot be retrieved for removal
- Fracture of the filter
- Perforation by the device of the vena cava or other vein
- Pulmonary embolism
- Respiratory problems
- Severe and unrelenting chest pain
If you or a close family member suffered any of these serious problems, the product liability attorneys of Briggle & Polan, PLLC, can help.
The FDA approved the drug Zofran to help alleviate the nausea and vomiting that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery often cause cancer patients. The problem with Zofran occurred when pharmaceutical company representatives from manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline began to encourage doctors to prescribe it off-label to pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, a common occurrence in early pregnancy. A disproportionate number of the babies of the approximately one million women who used the drug were born with birth defects, including cleft palate and heart defects. The federal government brought charges against Glaxo for fraud and illegal promotion of this drug and others in 2012, to which the company plead guilty and paid a fine of three billion dollars. Glaxo sold the right to Zofran to Novartis in 2015. Women whose babies suffered from these birth defects may demand compensation for their children.
Taxotere is chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Other types include lung cancer, stomach cancer, head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, and more. Close to one in ten women given Taxotere suffered permanent hair loss. Although hair loss is a common side effect of most types of chemo, it is usually temporary. Most of these women were not told that there was a possibility of permanent baldness and that other chemotherapy drugs are just as effective in treating cancer, but without this emotionally devastating side effect. Women facing breast cancer have enough to deal with without having to suffer this permanently disfiguring side effect, and they deserve the right to choose a different chemotherapy drug that will not render them bald forever after.
Getting Help for your Medical Drug or Device Injury
Patients have a right to medicines and treatments that are safe. Medical treatment is meant to help, not to harm. When a drug or medical device is placed on t the market, it needs to have been tested thoroughly, adhering to appropriate scientific standards. Once approved, except in unusual circumstances, it should be prescribed for the condition it has been approved for. The greed of already wealthy corporations in the medical manufacturing field needs to stop. These companies need to be held accountable for the harm they cause, and those who have been hurt should be compensated with enough money to reflect their financial damages and other types of loss and suffering.
Seek the Council of our Austin Pharmaceutical Drug or Devices Injury Attorneys
At Briggle & Polan, PLLC, in Austin, Texas, our well-experienced Austin personal injury lawyers understand the suffering that can result from this corporate greed, and it is our job to see that justice prevails for every one of our clients. If you or a family member has been hurt or killed by an IVC filter, Xarelto, Zofran, or Taxotere, call us today. We will schedule an appointment to discuss your case with you and offer you professional guidance through the legal process. Justice matters. Call us today! 512-472-1926