Legal Guide

Claims on Liability Relating to Defective Drugs

Claims of liability relating to defective drugs have increased in recent years as the number of individuals using drugs that can lead to serious side effects and harm, such as opioids and sedatives, has increased. The liability issue has become a matter of legal concern, particularly for drug manufacturers and distributors. This article addresses liability claims for defective drugs and the law that governs such claims.

What Are the Types of Drug-Related Liability Claims?

There are three types of drug liability claims; these include defectively manufactured drugs, drugs with dangerous side effects, and improperly marketed drugs. Below we will discuss each of these claims.

Defectively Manufactured Drugs

In a defective drug claim, the drug is defective because it was manufactured by a company that did not properly test or inspect the product or it was manufactured improperly. Often, a defect can be identified during the testing of the drug by adding test materials to identify any possible safety issues with the drug. However, this type of testing does not always provide all the information needed to understand how safe or unsafe the product is.

Drugs with Dangerous Side Effects

Another form of drug-related liability claim occurs when a drug is dangerous because of its side effects. For example, one popular pain reliever was recalled because it caused heart attacks in several individuals who took it. In addition, drugs intended for one purpose may cause side effects that are completely unexpected by the manufacturer or consumer. For example, a sleeping pill might also cause nausea. The drug company would be obligated to warn the consumer in these cases.

Improperly Marketed Drugs

In many circumstances, drug companies may fail to advertise a drug properly, or they may fail to adequately warn consumers of the potential dangers of using their product. Even if the basic safety of a drug is impeccable, failing to inform consumers about its potential side effects adequately can lead to liability claims in some circumstances.

What Is the Difference Between Defective Drugs and Unapproved Drugs?

In some cases, a drug may be approved to be sold in the United States and available in other countries. For instance, a drug may be sold in Europe or Asia and experience several safety issues related to its use. Of course, the drug manufacturer is not required to recall the product because it has already been approved for sale in other countries.

Potential Defendants in a Drug-Related Product Liability Claim

  1. Drug manufacturer

The usual defendant responsible for a defective drug claim is a drug manufacturer. Suing a pharmaceutical company is not uncommon, especially if the product contains poison or is defective.

  1. Drug distributor

A drug distributor may be liable in a defective drugs case if they failed to provide adequate warnings, sold defective drugs to the public, or damaged the product. In addition, distributors may have an obligation to ensure that products are distributed properly and are not tampered with along the way.

  1. Sales agent

A sales agent, who is typically a doctor or nurse, is not responsible for selling a defective drug. However, if the sales agent attempts to sell a defective product and then places it on the market without disclosing that fact, they can be held accountable for their actions.

  1. Medical provider

There is a potential for a medical provider to be held liable for the sale of an improperly marketed or defective drug. In particular, if the medical provider fails to disclose information about the product and causes harm to an individual, they could be held responsible for their negligence.

  1. Hospital

Hospitals may be held liable for the sale of defective drugs if the drugs cause harm to individuals or if the hospital is aware of a potential problem. Still, it does not alert individuals about the danger.

  1. Pharmacy

A pharmacy, such as a drug store, may be held liable in certain circumstances if it sold a dangerous, defective, or improperly labeled drug to an individual.

  1. Testing laboratory

If a drug testing lab falsified test results or otherwise fails to provide accurate information regarding the safety of a drug, they could be held liable for any harm caused by that drug.


The increase in lawsuits related to drug-related injury claims has created a great deal of concern for the medical industry and the public. The potential for successful claims against drug manufacturers and distributors is high, which has led to better testing standards and efforts to create more effective drugs. In addition, medical providers are now required to disclose any information about a product that is relevant to an individual's safety before providing treatment services.

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