The pharmaceutical industry is a booming business in the United States because people rely on medications to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Although medications must go through many tests and clinical trials before being approved for use, often serious health risks often become apparent only after a drug has been aggressively marketed and prescribed to millions of patients. Annually, pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on marketing their drugs, about $19 billion, as they spend on drug safety research. Such an investment into a product may tempt a pharmaceutical company to turn a blind eye to early warning signs of trouble. Unsafe medications may include prescription medications, prescribed by a physician and filled at a pharmacy; over-the-counter (OTC) medications available without a prescription; and medications administered by health care providers in a hospital, surgical or other clinical setting.
A prescription medication is a medical drug that is licensed and regulated by legislation so that it requires a medical prescription before it can be obtained by a patient. In the United States, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines what requires a prescription. Prescription drugs are generally authorized by veterinarians, dentists, optometrists, medical practitioners, and advanced practice nurses. The safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs in the U.S. is regulated by the federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with implementing this law. Over time, some drugs that prove themselves safe and appropriate as prescription medicines may be switched from prescription to an over-the-counter, or OTC medication.
An OTC drug is a medication that can be sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a health care professional. It is usually regulated by its active pharmaceutical ingredients. Over-the-counter drugs made by different manufacturers to treat the same condition must have the same active pharmaceutical ingredients, but may differ in formulations or combinations of other ingredients. Some OTC drugs still require patients to visit a pharmacy and consult with a pharmacist or fill out paperwork to acquire the drug. However, many OTC drugs are available in stores, supermarkets, gas stations or other retailers without a pharmacy or pharmacist.
Surgically or clinically administered drugs are medications given to a patient when he or she is receiving professional medical attention, or during a medical procedure. This may occur during a medical examination, outpatient surgical procedure, or upon admittance to a hospital or other health care facility for surgery. There are a wide variety of drugs that may be administered, based on the type of treatment or surgery a patient is undergoing. Surgically administered drugs may also be included in the type of anesthesia used during surgery and may be given before and after a surgical procedure, to prevent problems. Surgical drugs may include antibiotics, antifungals, pain relievers, anticoagulants (blood thinners), diuretics, anesthesia drugs, sedatives, antacids and mouth care products.
Our attorneys are privileged to represent individuals harmed by the pharmaceutical industry. Our attorneys are honored to be among an exclusive group of trial lawyers that are willing and able to stand against Big Pharmaceutical companies. Our team of experienced attorneys represents victims with a wide range of injuries against many different companies that manufacture and market defective pharmaceuticals. All too often we find that the top priority of drug makers is profit, not patient health. Rather than readily investigate potential safety problems, they are slow to examine and even slower to admit a drug is defective or dangerous.
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