Are Drugs Covered by Product Liability Laws?

Millions of Americans rely on prescription medications to help prevent illnesses or alleviate pain and suffering. However, there are times when pharmaceuticals cause injuries and illnesses. If you or somebody you care about have been injured due to a faulty prescription medication, it may certainly be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the company that supplied or manufactured the drug. Here, we want to discuss how pharmaceutical drug-based product liability claims are similar to other faulty product claims.

How are Defective Pharmaceutical Claims Handled?

When it comes to defective prescription or over-the-counter medications, we find that these claims arise in one of three ways:

  • Defective manufacturing. This indicates that the pharmaceutical has been improperly manufactured and therefore becomes tainted. This could be a problem that occurs during the manufacturing process or in a facility where the drug was bottled. Additionally, manufacturing errors can occur during the shipping process.
  • Dangerous side effects. This category of defective pharmaceutical claims arises in situations where, even though the drug may be properly manufactured, it has side effects that result in an injury or illness. Often, these claims arise for medications that have been on the market for quite a while, and where it has only recently been discovered that they create an increase for certain types of injuries or illnesses, such as cancers, heart attacks, etc. If victims can prove their injury or illness was caused by a medication, they may be entitled to compensation.
  • Improperly marketed drugs. When it comes to the “marketing” of a pharmaceutical medication, this refers to the instructions, warnings, or recommendations surrounding the use of the medication. Claims that arise under this particular category often have to do with the failure to provide adequate or accurate warnings regarding the safe use of the medication.

Claims related to a defective medication could combine a few of the points mentioned above. For example, it is not uncommon for a person to make a claim based on the dangerous side effects of a medication coupled with a claim stating that they were not properly warned about the side effects.

Types of Compensation Available in a Pharmaceutical Defect Case

Victims in these situations may be entitled to various types of compensation in the state of Oregon. This will generally include both economic and non-economic compensation such as the following:

  • Coverage of all medical bills related to the injury or illness
  • Lost income if a victim cannot work while they recover
  • General household out-of-pocket costs
  • Possible punitive damages against the drug company or manufacturer

The total amount of compensation available in these situations will vary depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular pharmaceutical defect case. A skilled product liability attorney in Portland will be able to handle every aspect of these claims on behalf of their clients. These cases can become incredibly complicated, and they typically require extensive investigation that sometimes goes across the country.

It is very important for these cases to be filed quickly. The product liability statute of limitations in Oregon is two years from the date an injury occurs (or three years from the date of a wrongful death). There are various ways to extend these timelines, particularly if the injury or illness is not discovered right away. Overall, there is a statute of repose that requires defective product claims to be filed within 10 years from the date of purchasing a product.