The pharmaceutical industry is big business in America, providing necessary medicine to those in need as well as creating new treatments, advancing new drugs, and providing jobs to thousands across the country. While Big Pharma serves many goals, it is important to remember that above all else, pharmaceutical sales is an industry, and like any business, it must turn a profit to survive.
Data from the National Institutes of Health reports that in 2013, the top 55 selling pharmaceutical drugs each had sales in excess of $1 billion with the best selling drug topping sales greater than $6 billion. Today, the industry continues to evolve and work towards the creation of newer, better, more effective means of treatment through pharmaceuticals, and the growth is not slowing down. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations confirmed that as of 2014, there were 3,073 new cancer drugs in some stage of development, 450 cardiovascular drugs, 281 drugs designed to treat diabetes, and 370 drugs targeted towards respiratory conditions. The money spent in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry is greater than that spent in the majority of other industries with the United States, European Union, and Japan expending the greatest amount of money towards the development of new medications.
How Drugs Make It to the American Market
When a pharmaceutical company creates a new drug, it is faced with a long process that eventually leads to testing and potential approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). First, a company must find promising data in laboratory studies involving the drug or compound it is interested in pursuing. That can lead the company to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), the largest of the FDA's six centers with responsibility for both prescription and over-the-counter medications. If the IND is approved, then clinical trials involving the compound can begin and will determine the drug's effectiveness, risks, and side effects, if any. After that, if the clinical trial is promising and meets preliminary FDA guidelines, the pharmaceutical company can submit a New Drug Application (NDA), which, if approved, can lead to the eventual marketing of the prescription or over-the-counter drug.
Though the simple terms used to describe this process may sound direct and clear, the reality of marketing a new drug is much more complex. Often, it takes years from the initial indications of a potentially effective compound until the time the drug can be sold to consumers, and at that point, the investment into the product may range from $350 million to $5 billion.
Why Dangerous Drugs Are Available
There can be incredible pressure placed on drug manufacturers to make medications pass FDA screening and to make them profitable for the pharmaceutical companies so that these large initial investments can be recouped. This extreme pressure has led to instances where companies and their employees have tried to cut corners, skirt regulations, or even hide potentially dangerous side effects from the FDA and/or consumers who may use their products.
If deceit is used in the approval process for a drug, it is possible that a drug will make it into the hands and bloodstreams of consumers who are unaware of all the risks associated with that medication. Those users may face an increased risk of harm, including the risk of death, simply from taking a drug as instructed or as prescribed by a physician.
In other instances, the negative effects associated with a drug may not come to light until it is used widely or for an extended period of time. This generally will not occur until the drug is on the open market and used by countless Americans and until those who suffer from harm report the ill-effects to their physicians.
And in troubling other scenarios, a drug itself may be safe or functional but it may be tainted, altered, or otherwise defective due to an issue in the drug's manufacture. Contamination, incorrect dosing, and poor quality control standards are some of the problems that can lead to errors in the making of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Legal Relief for Victims of Defective Drugs in Chicago
Often, people seek the advice of a doctor when they are sick or injured, trusting that the doctor will help them get well. But just because a medication is approved by the FDA and/or prescribed by a physician does not mean that it is safe and does not mean that it is free from danger.
Every day, people in the United States are harmed by the consumption of defective drugs or their component ingredients and may wonder about what legal options exist for them as a result. If you live in the Chicago area and a defective drug affected you, know that you may be entitled to bring a civil claim for your damages that can help you recover financial for the harm you suffered, including any medical expenses that you must incur to get better.
The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have been fighting for the rights of victims for years, and if you have been hurt, we want to fight for you. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who contact us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and everything discussed during the consultation will be kept confidential. If you prefer, contact us online and one our of attorneys will be in touch regarding your injuries.
The legal team of Abels & Annes, P.C. has a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to help you understand your options. Further, if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
If you were injured by a defective drug, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO today.
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