When Medications Go Wrong, Fault Must Be Determined August 17, 2010.

When a patient takes a medication the doctor prescribed and something bad happens, the question of fault often arises.

"I’ve had a number of clients that were taking a medication that caused them some serious side effects and/or drug interactions. Initially, it looked like the fault was with the doctor or the pharmacist. Further probing indicated it was the drug manufacturer at fault," Christopher Mellino explained. Mellino is a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer of the Mellino Law Firm LLC, in Ohio.

Being human, we tend to blame drug reactions on the doctor for prescribing something that harmed us. Or, we may blame the pharmacist for not knowing enough about the drug to know that it could hurt us. Silently, under the cover of diffuse blame, lurks another entity that carries blame for defective/dangerous drugs – Big Pharma. Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals with nasty, unsettling, disturbing and/or fatal side effects are made every year, and every year they are prescribed to unsuspecting patients by (at times) unsuspecting doctors. And every year, many of the unsuspecting patients seek help from an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer.

Consider the case of Fosamax and any of its other relatives that supposedly help battle brittle bones due to osteoporosis. Fosamax and its cousins, have bisphosphonates in them. This is a chemical found in laundry detergent.

"Yes, you’d be swallowing something in laundry detergent. Imagine what that does to your stomach and esophagus? Bottom line? This drug causes something called "Dead Jaw" and makes having dental work virtually impossible. Dead jaw is also called osteonecrosis and it means your jawbone rots away after dental work if you are on this drug. Many dentists won’t treat patients taking Fosamax, particularly if they require extractions or other dental surgery," observed Mellino.

Did the doctor know about the side effects? Possibly, but doctors don’t have a lot of time to read all the drug cautions on every drug they prescribe. In addition, the drug companies are often less than honest about the side effects of their drugs in the name of profit. Did the pharmacist know about the side effects? Again, possibly, but they deal with more drugs than a doctor does and although they are up-to-date on what new drugs are on the market, this doesn’t always mean they intimately know the drug’s action for the short or long-term.

"More to the point in this kind of situation is the question of whether or not the drug company knew about the side effects. In many instances the answer is yes, they knew and did not adequately warn patients. Many are guilty of understudying or trialing drugs in order to rush them to market. As you can see, this raises some very interesting legal questions when it comes to culpability for drug side effects. Who holds the drug companies accountable for their less than ethical approach to drug making and marketing?" asked Mellino.

For those who feel they have been a victim of a defective/dangerous drug, contact a seasoned Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. Someone has to take the responsible parties to task over drugs gone wrong.