Drug Representatives May Not Inform Doctors of Harmful Side Effects

When a dangerous drug causes injuries to a patient, it is many times the drug manufacturer that is held liable. This may be the case if drug company representatives fail to disclose harmful side effects.

A new study from researchers at the University of British Columbia indicates that representatives (or salespeople) for drug companies often fail to tell physicians about harmful side effects in the medications they are marketing. Yet many times doctors still go ahead and prescribe these drugs. This does suggest the possibility of holding physicians liable who don’t ask for information regarding side effects.

The study surveyed physicians in the U.S., Canada and France. By law, drug companies are required to notify physicians about not only the benefits of a medication but the risks as well. With no monitoring regulations in place, though, many representatives may fail to inform of these risks during a sales visit.

The study specifically found that despite 57 percent of the drugs coming with a black box warning (required when a drug poses serious or life-threatening risks), only six percent of sales calls mentioned serious risks during promotion.

Who can be liable for a dangerous drug that causes injuries?

Anyone who is involved in the chain of distribution (the path a product takes from the time it’s designed to when it’s sold) could potentially be liable for injuries caused by a dangerous drug.

Although this may include the drug company and possibly even a doctor, there could be other, such as a: 

  • testing laboratory;
  • pharmacy;
  • hospital;
  • medical facility; and
  • other healthcare workers.

If it’s believed that a drug was designed, manufactured, marketed or prescribed improperly, it could lead to filing a product liability claim. Speaking with a lawyer at Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help in determining the validity of a case and the parities that may be considered liable.

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