Today, millions of individuals depend on prescription drugs to heal their conditions or even save their lives. Although prescription medications are intended to enhance a person’s quality of life, some prescription drugs can also be so inadequately manufactured that they cause injury or even death. This is especially true if they are counterfeit drugs.

When a defective prescription drug damages a person, that individual may have a potential lawsuit against the manufacturer to recover any damages they have suffered. Other parties can sometimes be held liable, depending on the situation and the circumstances surrounding the injury.

What Is a Prescription Drug?

A prescription drug is a medicine that cannot be legally bought without a prescription from an official medical professional, such as a physician or dentist.

Prescription drugs are different from over-the-counter drugs, which can be bought without a prescription. They tend to be stronger (i.e., more effective) and have more side effects than over-the-counter medications. Some newer prescription medications may also lack long-term testing and analysis, which means that side effects may occasionally develop over time.

Defective Prescription Drugs and a Failure to Warn

Prescription drug lawyers normally sue manufacturers on two common theories: defective product and failure to warn.

A defective product claim alleges that the manufacturer did not put a safe product on the market and that the product damaged the public. A defective product has either a design flaw (i.e., every batch of the drugs made is defective) or a manufacturing flaw (i.e., only one batch is defective).

A failure to warn claim alleges that the manufacturer knew of the hazards of the medication and either sold the medicine as is or did not warn anyone of its harmful propensities. Manufacturers must conduct years of analysis on a drug before getting the FDA’s approval to sell them.

During this research period, the manufacturer tests whether the medication is safe. Depending on how risky the drug could be, the manufacturer may or may not be able to sell it.

Nevertheless, suppose the medication only has some semi-unsafe side effects. In that case, the manufacturer may sell the drug so long as they give their customers acceptable warnings of the side effects and risks the consumers are taking.

Lastly, some medical experts, such as pharmacists, physicians, and other professionals, can sometimes be held responsible for malpractice in connection with a prescription. An example of this is when a physician prescribes the wrong dose of a drug or if they knowingly prescribe a medication that has already been subject to a drug recall.

What Is Xarelto?

Prescription drugs are prescribed to patients to enhance or remedy a medical condition or save a life. When a prescription drug is placed on the market and harms someone, a lawsuit can be filed. One kind of prescription medication at the heart of recent drug lawsuits is Xarelto.

Rivaroxaban, or Xarelto, is a blood thinner manufactured by Bayer but marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The blood thinner protects people from having a stroke by stopping blood clots. Nevertheless, there are many risks associated with Xarelto, which has caused it to be the subject of several lawsuits.

Why Is Xarelto Dangerous?

The blood thinner has many side effects, but internal bleeding is the most dangerous side effect. Internal bleeding can be deadly because the medicine does not have an antidote.

For instance, Warfarin, another kind of anticoagulant, can cause internal bleeding, but it has a vitamin K antidote to stop the bleeding before it becomes catastrophic. Other side effects and health risks may include:

  • Back pain;
  • Bowel issues or bladder dysfunction;
  • “Pins and needles” or tingly sensations on the skin;
  • Lung and breathing problems;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Menstrual problems; or
  • Miscellaneous other side effects.

Can I Sue the Makers of Xarelto Under the Defective Product Laws?

A defective product is any product that causes injury to an individual based on three legal theories:

  • Design Defect: There was an issue with the way that the product was designed; in this case, an example might be that there is no antidote included
  • Manufacturing Defect: There was an issue with the way that the product was manufactured or created, such as an error in the ingredients put into the product
  • Warning Label Defect: There was an error or problem with the way the product was labeled- for example, a failure to include appropriate warnings regarding side effects

Most plaintiffs suing the Xarelto drug maker claim the manufacturer failed to deliver satisfactory safety warnings that the drug could cause fatal internal bleeding.

What Will I Have to Prove to Win a Defective Product Lawsuit?

Three factors must be satisfied to have a successful claim:

  1. Xarelto had an unreasonably dangerous defect. The defect would be that it caused catastrophic or uncontrollable bleeding;
  2. The defect caused an injury to the plaintiff while Xarelto was taken as prescribed; and
  3. The medication had not been altered from the way it was sold.

Triumphant legal claims will usually result in a damages award for the injured party. The damages can cover miscellaneous financial costs, including lost wages, medical bills, and in the case of a fatality, wrongful death damages.

What Is Considered to Be a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death refers to a lawsuit brought by a family member of a deceased victim against the individual who caused the victim’s death. To be considered a wrongful death, the victim must have died due to the wrongful action or negligence of another person or company. A wrongful death lawsuit may also be brought against government agencies, companies, or organizations. Each state in the U.S. has its regulations regarding wrongful death.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that the victim’s death was a result of the defendant’s actions or negligence. Once again, each state has its own laws regarding wrongful death suit requirements. Nevertheless, most states demand the following elements to be present for a wrongful death claim:

  1. A human being died;
  2. As a result of another’s negligence or intention to cause harm; and
  3. The survivors of the deceased have suffered financial loss due to the victim’s death.

To expand upon those elements, the party bringing the wrongful death claim will likely need to prove:

  • That the defendant, in fact, caused the victim’s death;
  • That the defendant intentionally, recklessly, or negligently caused the victim’s death, or that the defendant was strictly liable for the victim’s death;
  • That there are surviving beneficiaries or dependents; and
  • The victim’s death has caused economic damages to the surviving beneficiaries or dependents.

Bringing both criminal charges against the individual or entity liable for the victim’s death, and filing a civil wrongful death suit, are both authorized to be brought against the guilty party. One does not prevent the other.

The plaintiff is not prohibited from bringing both civil and criminal charges for the same incident. A wrongful death action would be a civil lawsuit, for which the standard for proof is lower than that needed for proving a criminal action.

As previously mentioned, specific elements must be met for a death to be considered wrongful. Some of the most standard reasons a person would file a wrongful death suit include:

  • Deaths that result from medical malpractice;
  • Exposure to hazardous substances;
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions;
  • Other criminal behaviors that lead to the victim’s death.

Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Xarelto Lawsuit?

Pursuing a lawsuit based on defective medicine is a heavy and involved matter. To resolve if you have a legal claim involving Xarelto, you should contact a class action attorney. A lawyer can assist you in filing your claim and can represent you in legal proceedings.