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Drug Companies’ Dangerous and Deceptive Practices

By January 18, 2019January 21st, 2019Blog, Product Liability

Pharmaceutical companies are marketing their drugs directly to consumers more than ever before.  But are their drugs safe, and are their advertising claims false or misleading?

Kaiser Health News investigated the nation’s big pharma industry, recently issuing reports about the dangers of potentially defective drugs and healthcare marketing.

According to KHN, some 8,000 medicines have been recalled by U.S. drug companies or those owned internationally since 2013.  And since 2013, 65 drug manufacturing plants have recalled 300 products within one year of passing an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration.

KHN questions the effectiveness of FDA inspections.  But it also reports on the lengths drug manufacturers go to protect their professional secrets, and how this purposefully designed business strategy can harm the public.

Questions about Drug Manufacturing Safety

Drug companies often keep confidential which facilities make each of their drugs. The FDA’s reporting on hazards found in drug factories, therefore, often hides the specific drug or drugs made there.  So even hospitals, which buy medicines in large quantities, don’t always know if the drugs they purchase are possibly unsafe.

But even when the FDA finds violations, drug companies may fail to fix them, according to KHN.  Plus, some factories simply clean up the day an inspector comes and then reverts back to known dangerous manufacturing conditions following the inspection.

KHN warns that in these instances, when drugs are manufactured carelessly, they can harm the very patients they are designed to help.

In another report on the nation’s medical industry, KHN notes that marketing by the U.S. healthcare industry reached $30 billion a year in 2016, which is double the amount in 1997.  The money spent on advertising directly to consumers over the last 20 years accounts for the lion-share of this jump.

False or Misleading Drug Advertising Claims

The danger here is that more money spent to advertise a drug to consumers doesn’t mean the drug is safer or more effective.  And not all claims touted by a drug maker may turn out to be true.

When a drug doesn’t provide its promised benefits, consumers can be harmed.  Serious physical injuries to be sure; but false and deceptive advertising by pharmaceutical companies can also unfairly hit consumers in the pocketbook.

So, depending on the harm, those who suffer from defective drugs have two possible legal pursuits – litigation over serious personal injury or wrongful death, or litigation over economic damages.  Gray, Ritter & Graham successfully pursued the latter with a $220 million settlement on behalf of Missouri consumers who purchased Vioxx.

Falsely marketed or dangerously manufactured drugs that hurt consumers are defective products. If you or a family member were seriously harmed by any type of defective product, consult a product liability litigation lawyer to review your legal options.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog January 18, 2019