Things You Should Know About a Drug Recall
Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 6
Personal injury lawyers dedicate a great deal of their time to counseling clients through the often painful aftermath of medical malpractice experiences. But what about situations in which medical personnel did not act negligently, yet a healthcare matter still caused suffering when medicine or a medical device was discovered to be defective?
Often, patients don’t realize that their recalled medication—and even over-the-counter remedies—may be to blame for seemingly unrelated injuries and illnesses. This is why it’s imperative for anyone who has been exposed to a defective drug or device that is currently—or has ever been—under recall to seek experienced legal help about the issue.
Today’s blog post, which is the final chapter in our recent series guiding you through when and how to hire a personal injury lawyer, provides a closer look at what consumers need to know about drug recalls, which are frighteningly common today. Compassionate personal injury lawyers are on your side to hold Big Pharma accountable, and we want our friends and neighbors to know how we can help you protect yourself and your loved ones.
Learn the Different Types of Recalls
There are a variety of reasons that a pharmaceutical drug or medical device may be recalled, and not all recalls are cause for alarm—some are simple packaging errors, and the product itself is not unsafe. However, you may still want to consult a knowledgeable legal resource if you’ve been misled by false health claims or labeling mistakes. After all, simple oversights can sometimes cause complicated problems.
In the United States, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is typically involved in any drug recall process, and this government entity has organized a rating system to help people understand the threat level that an identified bad drug or health product poses to users. Manufacturers will typically recall the product on a self-led, voluntary basis, especially within the less serious classification types, though the FDA may also compel a company to perform the recall.
Class I Recall
This classification is the most serious type. Products that are recalled under a Class I action are considered by the FDA to be “a dangerous or defective product that could cause serious health problems or death.” You will almost always hear about Class I recalls through the media, as the FDA makes a point of publicizing these for health products and medicines in widespread use, or that have particularly hazardous effects on users.
Class II Recall
The FDA describes Class II recalls this way: “A product that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose slight threat of a serious nature.” So, less dangerous to overall public health, but could still lead to pain and suffering for some individuals. The scariest thing about a recall of this type is that you might not hear about it unless you subscribe to and regularly read the FDA’s weekly enforcement reports.
Class III Recall
A Class III recall is considered to be the least serious, as it applies to “a product that is unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction, but that violates FDA labeling or manufacturing laws.” Again, this lower priority type of recall may not be well-publicized, which means you will have to go looking for the information.
Recall Classification is Not Perfect
The main problem with the recall classification system is something that’s a bit of blessing and curse—it is not static. Ongoing investigations can reveal new and more serious information about a recalled product, as with the years-long and ever-expanding valsartan recall, that can transform a lower classification into the highest priority type over time.
So, for instance, you may not hear about a new Class III recall on a medication you’ve been taking for an extended period of time, but perhaps within another year, the recall evolves to a Class I. You will likely wish you knew about the lower level recall when it was issued so you could have consulted your doctor about alternative medications much earlier.
Check Your Current and Past Medications—Have They Been Recalled?
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from harmful drugs is to research your prescriptions and other healthcare products you frequently use—things like over-the-counter pain remedies, vitamins, ointments, cough suppressants, and more. As we touched on above, the FDA keeps track of new and ongoing recalls, and they even have a frequently-updated Twitter feed that includes food and nutritional recalls, as well.
Some of the latest common drugs on recall
Valsartan & Other Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker (ARB) Medications
As we reported in a previous blog post, valsartan-containing medications were determined to be at risk for dangerous contamination depending upon where that drug ingredient was sourced.
Valsartan has been used in a wide variety of common medications for high blood pressure and heart conditions for many years. What’s more, this recall has been expanded many times and now includes other ARB ingredients like losartan and irbesartan, as well. If a medication you’ve previously taken or currently take contains any of these, it’s essential to contact your doctor for professional medical advice. And then consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney, as well. (Find more information on our case criteria tracking sheet.)
Generic Children’s Ibuprofen
Another current and just-expanded recall that doesn’t involve a prescription drug—but is significantly troubling because it concerns a low-cost, over-the-counter children’s pain reliever—is Tris Pharma, Inc.’s nationwide recall of children’s ibuprofen drops it manufactured for retail pharmacies like CVS and Walmart. The product may contain higher levels of the active ingredient than were disclosed on the packaging, which can potentially cause kidney damage in infants with particular sensitivities.
My Medication Has Been Recalled. Now What?
It is important to reiterate that if you discover that your medication or other health product you regularly use is under recall—regardless of classification—you should immediately talk with your doctor to discuss your options for alternatives. Never stop taking any medication prescribed to you before consulting your doctor first. Once you have safely transitioned from the recalled product, your next move should be to seek a free consultation from a trusted and experienced personal injury attorney to weigh whether legal action might be necessary. Here in Greensburg, Westmoreland Injury Lawyers is ready to listen and advise you as you fight back against the dishonest drug manufacturers for the compensation you deserve.