Defective Drug Lawsuits: Why Are They So Common?

The most prominent commercials on TV today are drug commercials, followed closely by lawyer advertisements.  Ironically, many of the lawyer advertisements pertain to defective drugs, like Actos, Pradaxa, and Avandia.  So why do there continue to be so many lawsuits involving pharmaceutical companies?

Drug Approval = Big Money

It is no secret that drug companies stand to make billions of dollars in profits if they can successfully develop a useful and popular drug.  For instance, the cholesterol drug Lipitor averages nearly $13 billion in sales every year.  Given the financial incentives, drug companies aggressively push for quick approval for their products.  The rush to approval can often lead companies to downplay dangerous side effects or even fail to discover certain problems.

Undue Influence and Misleading Marketing

Pharmaceutical companies often exert undue influence on doctors and provide misleading information. For instance, Glaxo Smith Kline (“GSK”) recently agreed to pay $3 billion in fines for fraud.  This record setting fine stems from GSK’s marketing of Paxil to children, when it was actually approved for adults only.  The fine also pertained to GSK’s marketing of Wellbutrin as a weight loss and sexual dysfunction drug, even though neither of these uses had FDA approval. The case revealed that GSK promoted these “off label” uses to doctors through misleading medical journals and by providing illegal kickbacks to doctors with free meals and spa treatments

Food and Drug Administration Oversight

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is charged with approving and overseeing the approval and use of pharmaceuticals.  However, like many governmental agencies, the FDA simply does not have the resources and manpower to adequately regulate this multi-billion dollar industry.  Moreover, many of the FDA advisors receive compensation directly from the drug companies, thus creating a conflict of interest. As a result, about half of the American public believes the FDA is doing a bad job.

Will There Be Fewer Lawsuits in the Future?

Under our current system, major drug companies have factored fines and lawsuits into the cost of doing business. Until our current system is radically altered, expect to see defective and dangerous drugs enter the marketplace, leaving thousands of innocent patients seriously injured and killed.

The Tennessee defective drug attorneys at Bailey & Greer are here to answer all of your questions free of charge. Call us at 901-680-9777 today.