A product liability claim is a civil lawsuit filed by a plaintiff against a manufacturer or retailer of a defective product. This claim arises when the product causes harm to someone, and the manufacturer or retailer is found liable for that harm. Pharmaceutical product liability is a form of product liability. It arises when a pharmaceutical product causes injury to a consumer. It is distinct from medical malpractice and some other forms of product liability.
A pharmaceutical liability case can be filed in any state. However, it is most often filed in the state where the plaintiff purchased the product (the “supplier”) because that is where they were injured.
The defendant must be a pharmaceutical product manufacturer, distributor, or seller. If a doctor prescribes the drug and a person buys it from the doctor, then one can sue the doctor for medical malpractice. However, if one purchased the drug from a store or pharmacy, one can only sue the company distributing it.
Pharmaceutical product liability can be divided into two categories: direct and secondary. Direct pharmaceutical liability refers to the liability of parties other than the manufacturer of the product for injuries resulting from its use or misuse. Secondary pharmaceutical liability refers to the potential liability of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for damages caused by defective products that these parties marketed.
Direct pharmaceutical liability
In most cases, direct pharmaceutical liability refers to claims against manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for injuries caused by defective products that these parties marketed. This may also include claims against manufacturers for failure to warn consumers about known risks associated with their products.
Secondary Pharmaceutical liability
Secondary pharmaceutical liability occurs when someone gets sick or dies as a result of using that drug. To prove secondary pharmaceutical liability, one must have suffered an injury caused by using that medication. If a person has suffered an injury that was not approximately caused by using that medication, then it is not considered secondary pharmaceutical product liability.
Below are some elements of pharmaceutical product liability:
1. Satisfying claim deadlines
The plaintiff must file a lawsuit within one year of the injury or, if later, the date they discover or should have found it. There are strict time limits for filing a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer. Generally, one must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of injury or death. The statute of limitations begins running as soon as the company knows or should have known its product was defective or dangerous to consumers. It may be dismissed if someone does not file a lawsuit within this time frame. However, if one has recently discovered evidence that would allow them to sue for damages after the statute of limitations has expired and they have not yet filed a claim with the government, they may be able to sue for damages in court.
2. Proving defects meet the legal criteria.
A defect is defined as an “inherent condition.” In order to prove that a product had an inherent defect or flaw, one must show that something about the product prevented its safe use. An injured consumer can only recover damages if an injury has been caused by a defect in the design, manufacture, or labeling of a drug product. A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached its duty of care to consumers by failing to adequately test and analyze their drugs for safety and efficacy before bringing them to market. This can include:
- Poor design
- An improper warning or instruction manual
- A manufacturing defect
- A lack of adequate warnings
3. Caused injury or death to one or more consumers
Pharmaceutical products liability claims can only be brought against manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical products sold in commerce if one person takes multiple doses of this medication and gets sick after each dose; this would be considered two separate injuries. A plaintiff must show that they suffered some form of harm, including loss of earnings and emotional distress from taking the defendant’s defective drug, which led to an injury or death.
4. Documenting product defects
A person must prove that there was a defect in the drug that caused the injury. The defect may have been present when it went into production or developed after production but before use by consumers (such as contamination). It may also be possible to show that there was a design defect or manufacturing defect which caused the damage even though there was no defect during production.