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Drug Companies

Are Drug Companies Liable for Addictions and Overdoses?

There are four times as many drug overdoses now as there were in 1999. The opioid epidemic has spiraled out of control in certain parts of the country. In places like Ohio, they have run out of room in the coroner’s office because of all the overdose deaths.  

In Florida, we are having our own problems. Rick Scott declared our state’s opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency. Pharmaceuticals have claimed the lives of thousands across our state. A majority of the victims have been young men, but addiction affects us all.

As personal injury attorneys, we want to help you understand what rights you have if you have become addicted. Keep reading for more information on this subject.


When you have been harmed by a drug, it falls under an area of law called product liability. In these cases, you can hold a drug manufacturer liable for producing faulty drugs. Product liability can be further divided into three categories.

Defects in Design

Design defect cases are rare. This is when a drug poses an unreasonable risk to people from the very beginning. People may use the drug how it should be used, and it still might hurt them. In these instances, they have the right to sue.

Most drugs have gone through a rigorous process of testing. Drug manufacturers usually establish at least one safe use for the drug. These lawsuits generally only include foreseeable risks. This can be very difficult to prove.

Defects in Manufacturing

This is when the production of a drug makes the medicine unsafe. When a batch of pills is contaminated at the point of manufacture, this can make the product dangerous. GlaxoSmithKline, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, had to pay $750 million because their products were not fit for human consumption.

In order to win this sort of case, you have to prove that there was something wrong in the manufacturing plant. It is likely that you are not the only one affected in these circumstances. A class action lawsuit may be the way to go.

While you may hold a company liable for producing medicine that kills people because of contamination, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully sue a company for addiction-related causes under manufacturing defect law. If someone dies due to a contaminated drug, they may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Defects in Warning

This is an important one. Companies that produce potentially addictive drugs have to warn people. Sometimes, their warnings are inadequate. In some cases, the warnings are inaccurate, or there is no warning at all.

If you have been hurt by a side effect of a drug, this is what you will sue for. Additionally, some people may not have been prepared for the physically addictive properties of opioid drugs. You may have a case, depending on certain circumstances.

The Doctor

Sometimes, you may not be able to sue the pharmaceutical company, but you can sue the doctor. If a doctor prescribes a drug to someone who is already addicted, they may have violated the law. Furthermore, they may open themselves up to civil lawsuits.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has put guidelines in place regarding who is responsible for prescribing and controlling drugs. Numerous doctors have already been put in prison and sued, but the case law is still developing. There are many gray areas in this field. Lawyers need to keep a close eye on new developments.

Lawsuits against Pharmaceutical Companies

Entire cities have sued pharmaceutical companies as an attempt to recover current, future, and past costs associated with the opioid epidemic. The state of West Virginia has successfully sued Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen. Miami may join a lawsuit.

If you have any questions about who can be sued, it may be a good idea to ask a lawyer. They can help you sort through your options. A good lawyer can also advise you on the best choice for you.

The Berman Law Group has a team of experienced, reliable, and relatable lawyers. We are ready to help you out today. Call us now at (800) 883-5206. You may have a case.