There are instances when a prescribed medication leads to a fatality or a serious injury even if the drug is considered effective and safe to use for others. In other circumstances, a drug manufacturer may not have adequately informed or warned of its drug’s risks and may have exaggerated its benefits. Still other situations involve physicians, hospitals and pharmacists who prescribe, administer or provide the incorrect dosage or medication and are liable for prescription malpractice.
These cases of defectively prescribed medication can lead to catastrophic injuries including stroke, heart attack, blood clots, pulmonary complications, kidney or liver failure, and cancer. If you or a loved one has suffered severe complications from a defectively prescribed drug, contact the San Francisco personal injury lawyers from The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian.
A Physician’s Duty to Warn
Although drug manufacturers have a legal obligation to adequately warn of a drug’s foreseeable side-effects, the prescribing physician also has a duty to warn the patient. The physician acts as an intermediary and has an equal duty to warn or inform the patient of the drug’s uses and hazards after the drug company has already advised the physician.
This duty to warn may include some of the following:
- Requiring patients to provide a complete history of all prescription and over-the-counter medications being taken
- Advising patients of alternative medications
- Instructing patients to read the labels
- Obtaining written implied consent if the physician is prescribing the drug for off-label use
- Informing the patient of potential interactions if other drugs or foods are used in conjunction with the prescribed medication
- Being fully aware of the drug manufacturer’s product disclosures and warnings
Fatal interactions of drugs occur because a doctor failed to warn the patient or because the physician did not inquire about other medications being taken by the patient, even if the other drugs were all legally prescribed.
A lawsuit against a physician who prescribes a drug without taking the proper precautions falls under California’s medical malpractice rules and laws.
It is not uncommon for physicians to prescribe a drug for an off-label use, or to treat a condition not recommended or advised by the manufacturer. In these cases, a physician must obtain a written implied consent from the patient about the dangers of using the drug and the hazards involved.
Physicians who obtain implied consent from their patients and who advise the patient about alternative treatments and their risks and benefits may be insulating themselves from medical malpractice liability for defective prescriptions.
Generally, a physician who prescribes a medication for off-label use may have to do the following:
- Obtain informed consent from the patient
- Advise that the prescription is to diagnose, treat or benefit the patient
- That it is based on the doctor’s expertise or medical opinion
- That the off-label use is supported by reputable medical literature
- That its use is supported by the opinions of colleagues known to the physician
Evidence of the drug’s off-label use must be disclosed to the patient in the written informed document. Essentially, it is whether a reasonably prudent doctor would provide the information to the patient about the drug and alternatives.
Hospital and Pharmacy Prescription Malpractice
Hospitals are busy facilities, but they still have the responsibility and obligation to any patient to administer and provide proper dosage from the correct medication. Too often, a hospital staff member neglects to get a complete medical or drug history from a patient or gives the patient the wrong dosage or medication. Poor training, simple neglect or a misreading of the prescribing doctor’s notes can lead to dosage and medication errors resulting in serious injuries.
Also, a pharmacist has a duty to patients to correctly provide the medication prescribed. Even though a physician prescribes the medication, the pharmacy may misread or misinterpret the doctor’s notes, or it may simply give a patient medication intended for someone else, leading to serious complications for that individual.
Compensation for Defectively Prescribed Drugs
Injuries from taking a defectively prescribed drug can be devastating. If you have a viable injury claim, you could collect compensation for the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a loved one
- Pain and suffering
Compensation in any personal injury case varies and depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors in your life.
Contact The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian
Claims from defectively prescribed drugs are difficult cases that demand extensive investigation and knowledge of how to pursue such claims. The personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian have been successful in prosecuting defective prescription drug claims. We can investigate and show how a physician failed to follow the necessary precautions or was negligent in prescribing the drug without being fully informed of the drug’s risks and hazards or how it might interact with the drugs currently being taken by you.
Call us today for a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation. We have the experience, knowledge and resources to handle defective prescription cases.