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What’s the Difference Between a Side Effect and a Drug Injury?

All medications have the potential to cause side effects. Whether they’re powerful cancer-fighting drugs or over-the-counter pain relievers, medications that can heal and relieve symptoms can also cause new health problems and even serious complications.

In most cases, patients are informed of these potential health problems and complications by listening to their doctors and pharmacists, by reading the packaging or inserts that come with their medication, and even by watching commercials advertising the medications.

But when patients suffer profoundly negative health effects after taking certain medications, their experiences begin to differ from the norm and from what’s expected. At that point, they may have gone from suffering from side effects to experiencing a drug injury—and that can make them eligible to pursue compensation through the legal system.

Side Effects Are Publicized, Drug Injuries Are Not

The biggest difference between side effects and drug injuries is whether drug manufacturers are forthcoming about them.

New medications, whether they’re prescription or over the counter, must undergo a significant and thorough testing process before they’re allowed to be sold to the public. That means years of research and development, followed by years of clinical trials involving hundreds of volunteer patients. Throughout the testing process, pharmaceutical companies closely observe patients and collect data on how the medications affect them.

After all clinical trials are complete, drug manufacturers have a much clearer idea of potential side effects their medications can cause, and they pass that information along to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In some cases, medications produce side effects that are too dangerous and too severe for trials to continue. When that happens, the medications are revised or scrapped entirely.

Pharmaceutical Companies Hide Info to Recoup Their Investments

Studies show that it costs pharmaceutical companies anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion to bring a new drug to market. Because of that enormous expense, those companies are often desperate to ensure that their new medications are approved by the FDA without any roadblocks, delays, or rejections.

However, drug companies are also aware that medications that produce too many side effects or that put patients’ health at risk beyond acceptable levels may never reach pharmacy shelves. When pharmaceutical companies find that their new drugs may be dangerous, they don’t always scrap them or go back to the drawing board.

Instead, they may hide their findings from the FDA. Once their drugs are approved, they may still hide those potential side effects from doctors, pharmacies, and patients. The result is that thousands and potentially millions of patients may be at high risk for and potentially suffer serious complications that they didn’t even know were a possibility.

Occasionally, dangerous side effects are only uncovered after years of use when testing wasn’t thorough enough.

What Drugs Are Capable of Causing Serious Injuries?

There have been many high-profile drugs that were recalled by manufacturers after they caused huge numbers of patients to suffer serious health problems. Major examples in recent years include Bextra and Vioxx, which were NSAID pain relievers linked to heart attacks and strokes in thousands of patients. Unfortunately, not all medications that are linked to serious health problems are immediately pulled from the market.

Examples of medications that are still on the market as of August 2020 and causing patients to suffer severe complications include:

Harmed by a Prescription or OTC Medication? We Want to Help.

If you took a new medication and suffered severe side effects or health problems that you weren’t warned about ahead of time, you may have experienced a drug injury. It’s important to contact an experienced Oklahoma City drug injury lawyer after these types of adverse events.

At Parrish DeVaughn, our lawyers have handled these types of claims for many years. When you call us, we’ll get the facts on what happened to you after taking your medication. Then, we’ll collect evidence that proves your injury or illness was beyond what people who take that particular medication should experience—including whether that potential outcome was hidden or downplayed by the pharmaceutical company.

It’s Our Goal to Get You Paid for What You’ve Gone Through

Next, we’ll determine exactly how much money you’re owed for your drug injury-related expenses. You may have required intensive medical care, including surgery, to recover from the complications. In addition, you may be too sick to work, and that means no paychecks and even a loss of health insurance. It’s our goal to make you as financially whole as possible after a drug injury.

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. We’re ready to hear your story and get to work for you. There’s no obligation when you reach out to us, and better yet, you won’t owe us a dime unless we get money for you. Call now and take the first step towards getting the compensation you’re owed.