In recent years, it has been reported by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 60 take at least one medication. In fact, more than 30 percent of that population takes several medications. As it turns out, the age at which Americans start to take medications on a regular basis is starting to decrease. In other words, more people are taking medications at a much younger age.
One of the most prevalent types of drugs among teenagers are those used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There is also an increase in the number of drugs that are taken by children, which often relates to asthma. When you look at the demographics, you’ll find that women are prescribed medications more often than men. Statistics show that Caucasians take more medications than African Americans, Hispanics and other races.
As can be expected, people with health insurance take far more medications than those without it. In fact, the numbers rise by 50 percent. In just under a decade, the NCHS reported an increase in spending on prescription drugs by Americans of nearly $105 billion. This number is continuing to rise at an alarming rate. As a result of these trends, pharmaceutical companies are frequently marketing prescription drugs that have not been adequately tested.
There’s often a rush to put drugs on the market, even when they are defective. More light has been shed on issues related to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performing drug tests that are actually funded by drug companies. This conflict of interest is one of the reasons why there is an increasing number of injuries and deaths caused by prescription medication. It’s also the reason why there is an increasing number of drug recalls.
Patients that have been prescribed drugs that are defective may have a medical malpractice case or pharmaceutical claim, which could entitle them to receive financial damages. This has been the finding of trial lawyers and experts in the area of medical law. For instance, a pharmacy in the state of Massachusetts was responsible for 39 deaths when there was a fungal meningitis outbreak in the area. The pharmacy happened to be a compounding pharmacy that was ultimately responsible for approximately 620 infections that resulted from contaminated drugs.
A compounding pharmacy located in Florida was forced to cease sterile compounding when a warning was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where they urged the public not to use sterile products that were made by that particular pharmacy. This warning was issued because of a fungal eye infection that was connected to the pharmacy and impacted dozens of patients.
There was another case at the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts where hundreds of lawsuits were filed by patients across the country. These lawsuits were the result of people receiving epidural steroid injections that ended up containing a fungus. The consumers had no way of knowing in advance that the injections were problematic.
While sometimes patients want to hold the doctor accountable, doctors are often unaware that a certain drug has not been approved by the FDA when that drug is prescribed. This is an issue because drug labels do not specify when a drug isn’t approved by the FDA. Whether or not a drug is approved, there’s a possibility that issues will exist surrounding efficacy and safety. In the state of Illinois, there are a long list of drugs that have had issues surrounding safety. Here are just a small sampling of those drugs:
Adderall: Popular ADHD drug. Known to increase high blood pressure and the risk of heart attack. Can also contribute to cardiovascular complications that may cause sudden death.
Drospirenone (Yaz): Substance in some birth control pills manufactured by Bayer. May lead to an increased risk of dangerous blood clots. FDA announced that Yaz increased the chances of blood clots by 75 percent based on studies involving 800,000 women during the timeframe of 2001 and 2007.
Fentanyl Patches: Strong narcotic painkillers. Many leaky patches resulted in an injection of lethal doses that caused death.
Gadolinium: Contrast agents used during the process of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Has resulted in serious and sometimes fatal conditions. FDA warning on five different contrast agents.
Trasylol: Used for cardiopulmonary bypass patients to inhibit inflammation and prevent blood loss. Drastically increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Viapro (375 mg capsules): Contained an ingredient that potentially lowers blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Vivitrol: Treats addiction to alcohol. Injectable naltrexone resulted in side effects.
If you or someone you love has in any way been impacted by the side effects of a pharmaceutical drug, there’s a possibility that you have a personal injury claim. Contact Zayed Law Offices for a consultation or to get answers to any questions you have.