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Who is At Fault When You Get Faulty Medication?


This past year has seen an outbreak of meningitis that has spread nationwide. The meningitis was connected to tainted steroids produced at a Framingham drug compounding pharmacy and have led to many lawsuits accusing pharmacy malpractice, general negligence, breach of warranty and more.

A least two recent lawsuits have targeted an orthopedic and sports medicine clinic, and two physicians working there who administered the medication. These cases allege negligence and violation of product liability laws. The outbreak is very large, with more than 250 reported cases and 21 deaths in 16 states so far, and additional lawsuits are expected.

It is very difficult to win claims against health care providers who use medical products they did not manufacture that later turn out to be faulty. A successful lawsuit would have to show both negligence on the part of the providers and that they acted outside of the norms of professional standards.

In this situation, the claims are multiplying rapidly. Suits are being filed nationwide in a number of federal and state courts, including Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia. A handful of the suits are seeking class action status, which if awarded, would allow for thousands of potential plaintiffs, even those not diagnosed with meningitis.

The line of defendants is getting longer. It is doubtful the producer has enough assets or insurance to cover all potential claims. Two sister companies are theoretically vulnerable to legal action if they have sold any of the tainted product. They could possibly be brought into the litigation on the basis that all three companies act as one entity.

The liability issues are very complex in these cases. To prosecute a case like this requires a great degree of knowledge and skill in both the medical and legal areas. If you know of someone who needs professional advice in this area, please contact an attorney who knows the medical field.

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