Defective medical products, including medications, can lead to significant injuries for those who received the prescription. However, can victims file medical malpractice lawsuits against healthcare providers if they have been prescribed and taken a drug that has been recalled? It will certainly depend on various factors, including who knew about the potential dangers of the drug. These claims could turn into product liability lawsuits as opposed to medical malpractice claims.

When a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Makes Sense

Medical malpractice claims are complex, and there are very specific scenarios when these types of lawsuits make sense. In order for a medical malpractice claim in California to be successful, there must be various elements in place. 

Most importantly, there has to be a doctor-patient relationship established, and it must be shown that the medical professional in question failed to uphold an acceptable standard of medical care. It must then be shown that the patient suffered some sort of injury or illness as a result of the medical professional’s negligence. 

There is no disputing that defective medications can cause injuries and illnesses. Drug manufacturers, in conjunction with the FDA, regularly issue recalls for medications that are found to cause harm to patients. 

However, drug manufacturers are not medical professionals, and they will not face medical malpractice claims in the event a defective drug causes harm to a patient. The only time it would make sense for a person to face a medical malpractice claim for a defective drug is if a doctor knowingly prescribes a defective drug to an individual.

Defective Drugs May Fall Under Product Liability

A product liability lawsuit is much more likely to occur after a defective drug causes injury or illness to a patient. Products, including medications, can become defective in a few different ways:

  1. There is a defective design, which means the drug is flawed from the beginning of its evolution and all lines of the drug will be affected.
  2. There is a manufacturing error, which means that a mistake occurred in the formulation or composition of the drug while it was being manufactured. This type of error may only affect a particular lot or lots of a drug.
  3. There may be an advertising issue, which can encompass an incorrect label, faulty instructions, incorrect dosages, incorrect ingredient lists, etc.

Product liability lawsuits fall under the theory of strict liability, which means it is not necessary for victims to prove that the company was negligent in causing them harm. All that is typically required in these situations is proving that a person used a medication in the properly prescribed manner and then sustained an injury or illness as a result of the defective medication.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of a defective drug, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately. The first step is determining what knowledge a medical professional had when prescribing this medication. This will guide the case either toward a medical malpractice claim, a product liability claim, or both. Victims in these circumstances may be able to recover a wide range of compensation, including coverage of medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and more.