English Text Version of Dangerous Drugs Article
Appearing in Forum Turkish American Newspaper
It’s hard to watch television at night and not see
commercial after commercial for prescription
drugs. The commercials are creative in their
use of popular songs, or special appearances
from celebrities or athletes. You see drugs for
arthritis pain, drugs for managing depression...
drugs for quitting smoking, drugs for lowering
cholesterol. You see a commercial for a weight
loss drug…at around the same time you’re
getting ready to bite into a chocolate cake. By
the time you’re fighting to stay awake through
the ten o’clock news, you see a commercial for
a pill to help you fall asleep gently. You know
you don’t need this pill! You’re so exhausted
from waking up at 6:00 a.m. that morning for
work, falling asleep is not a problem! But you
get the picture. Whatever the condition or
ailment, you can be certain to see a drug for it.
Along with such a tremendous growth of pharmaceutical drugs, there has also been a growth in pharmaceutical
drug lawsuits. Some of the more prominent lawsuits involve Vioxx, commonly used for pain. Others include
Celebrex. Some of the lawsuits deal with side effects of anti-depressant drugs such as prozac, zoloft, and paxil, to
name but a few. In the anti-depressant drug cases, the plaintiffs base their lawsuits on the grounds that tragic
suicides and violent behavior stemmed from the medications.
When we think of such lawsuits, we think in terms of negligence. And the cases do involve elements of
negligence, whether tied to a physician or hospital. However, these are also a special class of lawsuits all by
themselves. They are based on a theory of product liability.
A product liability lawsuit arises when a product could have been made safer in an economical manner. It doesn’t
only apply to drugs. Think of the SUV roll-over lawsuits, or an air bag in a car failing to deploy…those are based
on product liability. A product is considered defective if:
▪ it is defectively manufactured: An example would be poor quality materials used to manufacture tires. As a
result, the tires come apart at highway speed.
▪ it is defectively designed: An example would be a designer’s poor judgment in placing a car’s gas tank where it
could explode in a rear-end collision.
▪ it fails to warn of its dangers: Examples would include failing to warn of side effects of a drug, failing to warn that
a car should not be operated after taking the drug, failing to warn of the hazards for patients with heart
conditions, who are pregnant, etc.
The recognition of this concept by manufacturers and retailers is apparent. Styrofoam cups come with warnings…
”Caution - Coffee is Hot” Motorized toy airplanes come with warnings… ”To be used with adult supervision only!”
Baby strollers warn…”Do not leave child unattended”. These warnings usually appear because someone,
somewhere was injured by that product and sued the manufacturer, claiming that the product was poorly made,
poorly designed, or failed to warn of its dangers. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights involving a
dangerous product, feel free to contact me at (718) 224-9824, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.benimavukatim.
© 2005 Timur Akpinar