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Can drug makers be sued for insufficient warning of side effects?

Modern medicine relies heavily on the pharmaceutical industry to provide remedies for all kinds of ailments. The industry is constantly coming out with new drugs to fight everything from insomnia to cancer, and makes hefty profits by doing so. But sometimes things go wrong, and a drug that is supposed to help a patient ends up causing serious injury, even death.

Before a drug can be put on the U.S. market it must be thoroughly tested by the manufacturer under rules established by the Food and Drug Administration. But FDA approval does not shield a manufacturer from liability if the drug turns out to be defective.

The drug manufacturer is obligated to warn consumers of potential side effects. As an expert in the field, the manufacturer has a duty to keep abreast of current research and warn of newly discovered side effects. In some cases this can lead to a prescription drug recall.

The manufacturer often fulfills its duty to warn by providing relevant information to the doctors who prescribe the drug and the pharmacists who fill the prescriptions. The doctors and pharmacists are considered "learned intermediaries," and in cases alleging insufficient warning there is often an issue whether the physician, the pharmacist or the drug company is liable for a failure to warn the patient.

Product liability cases against drug manufacturers are complex and generally require expert testimony to succeed. Those who believe they have been injured by an unreasonably dangerous medication can benefit from consulting a law firm with experience in defective drug cases.

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