Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reports that drug recalls are very common these days. According to a study, reported by ABC News on July 4, 2012, drug recalls are happening at a rate of about one every month.
Reporting and Recalling
The ABC story notes that, while the FDA does make certain that it uses all of its available means of communication to get the word out that a drug has been recalled, that information might not be making it to healthcare providers. In fact, the story notes that the study found that the FDA only issues public notices for about half of the recalls that constitute the most serious instances of drugs being taken off the market. These are called Class I recalls, and they constitute instances where there is a very serious danger to people using the medications.
Big Numbers, Big Problems
The study found that there were 1,734 drug recalls between the years of 2004 and 2011. Of those drug recalls, there were 91 of them that were Class I recalls. A drug is only issued a Class I recall when utilizing the drug is found to present a significant risk of very serious – even deadly – side effects to patients.
Relying on Industry
In the ABC story, a spokesperson for the FDA noted that the system for announcing recalls is dependent upon the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals being open about the issues and upon the industry being responsible about their duties to the public. Of course, there are many drugs that have remained on the market for many years, even though manufacturers knew that they posed a risk.
One of the more effective mechanisms that the FDA has at its disposal is its website at Recalls.gov. This gives a list of all recalls – including recalls that are not related to pharmaceuticals – and provides whatever information patients need to know about the drug in question. Unfortunately, according to the study, it was also found that the most important recalls may end up being lost among the many other, less important, recalls that are announced by the agency. The combination of what recalls are announced being lost among the many communications put out by the agency as well as the reliance upon the industry to be honest about its products could both be contributing to a significant problem.
Lawsuits and Dangerous Drugs
Patients who are injured by pharmaceuticals that have proven to be dangerous sometimes have the option to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company that produced them. Drugs such as Paxil and Accutane, for example, both proved to be dangerous to patients and, because of that, juries have already awarded millions of dollars to people who have suffered because of the side effects of those drugs.
If you believe that you were injured because of a bad pharmaceutical or, even more so, if you know for a fact that you were injured because of a bad pharmaceutical, make certain that you speak with an attorney about the matter. Whether it’s through a class-action suit or an individual lawsuit, they may be able to help you pursue compensation.