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Drug manufacturers and product liability

Imagine trying a new anti-aging face cream that just hit the market. Your doctor prescribed the cream, so you were not overly concerned about the effects. When you picked up the cream at your local Pittsburgh pharmacy you did not see any negative effects listed on the container and the pharmacist did not mention anything you should be aware of, so you made the natural assumption that the product was safe.

Unfortunately, you had a very negative reaction to the product and you now have permanent scarring on your face and neck. After doing a bit of research, you found out that other people have suffered similar reactions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that manufacturers producing drugs and medicine conduct sufficient testing before introducing products into the market. If a manufacturer fails to provide a product that is safe for use and you suffer an injury, you may be able to file a product liability claim. Read further to find out more about pharmaceutical drug liability.

Duty to warn

If a drug or medicine has negative side effects, then the manufacturer has a duty to provide a warning on the product. This duty only exists if the manufacturer knew of the danger. There is no duty to inform if the manufacturer does not know about the negative effects.

Unavoidably unsafe

Some products will always be "unavoidably unsafe." This means that the manufacturer cannot produce the drug so that it is 100 percent safe. For example, some pain killers will always cause drowsiness which is why manufacturers include a label that warns consumers not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking the drug.

Time issues

In most personal injury cases, there is a time limit as to when you can file a lawsuit. Some states have a two-year statute of limitations and if it runs out, you cannot file a suit. However, in some cases that involve pharmaceuticals, the effects may not appear for many years. In these cases, the statute of limitations usually begins when you become aware of the injury or illness. If it takes months or years for symptoms to appear, you may lose important evidence.

Fortunately, there are many legal theories out there that your attorney can use to put the burden on the manufacturer to prove it was not responsible.

If you have suffered an injury or illness after using a prescription or over-the-counter drug, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.

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