The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may pull a pharmaceutical drug off the market after it has been revealed that a medication is dangerous. Unfortunately, these efforts — although they may be essential to saving many lives and preventing many injuries — could come too late. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many people to get hurt before regulators become aware of the dangers of a drug that previously passed FDA approval to be sold on the market.
When the FDA takes a drug off the market due to health risk, the action is referred to as a “recall.” Sometimes, the FDA does not trigger the recall, but it’s a decision made by the drug manufacturer. Here are the most common reasons why these recalls happen:
- Health risks: Initial studies of a medication might prove that the use of the drug is safe, but later studies — after the drug is being sold on the market — could reveal problems and risks that were previously unknown. For example, tests or usage statistics might reveal that a drug can cause a heart attack or stroke.
- Drug interactions: Certain drugs can interact with other drugs. In some cases, these interactions can be fatal or result in long-term illnesses. When it’s discovered that a drug interacts with certain foods or common medications dangerously, the FDA or drug manufacturer might choose to take the medication off the market.
Packaging or manufacturing errors: A drug might be labeled inappropriately at the factory. Perhaps manufacturers forget to include a special warning. Or, perhaps manufacturers packaged a drug with a faulty seal. These kinds of errors might inspire a manufacturer or the FDA to take a particular drug off the market until the packaging problems can be resolved.
If you or a loved one were hurt by an unsafe drug, you might be able to pursue financial damages in court. A personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your potential lawsuit in this regard.