Clark, Love & Hutson, GP

Drug manufacturers are liable for the drugs they sell

Drugs have an important role in treating health conditions. But not all drugs help, even if drug manufacturers say they do. When drug manufacturers market drugs deceptively, they are ultimately responsible for drug defects that lead to predictably poor results.

Consider, for example, opioid drugs. These drugs have been around as painkillers for a very long time. In fact, they were widely used in the 1800s. That is, until their highly addictive nature transformed medical opinions against them.

Fast forward more than 100 years later. Opioids were used sparingly, just for patients with severe health issues like cancer, conditions that posed low risks for abuse and addiction. But then drug companies began waging aggressive marketing campaigns. These campaigns worked as intended, causing opioid prescriptions to rise tenfold.

Unsurprisingly, abuse and addiction began to rise. And then came rising death tolls. In 2010, for example, nearly 17,000 people died from opioid abuse. That is more than cocaine and heroin - combined.

Government has taken action, suing drug companies for defective marketing practices. These suits argue that drug companies misrepresented how safe their products were so they could sell more.

The result of these suits could be significant for Texans thinking about filing a suit of their own. If the states succeed, it will pave the way toward consumers likewise holding drug companies responsible for the harm they have caused in the pursuit of profit.

In the interim, Texans injured because of a drug company's negligence (whether a drug was defectively designed, improperly manufactured or possessed inadequate warnings) may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced pharmaceutical-liability attorney.

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