Legal claims by consumers against drug manufacturers usually fall into one of two categories:
- Flaws in the manufacturing of a product
- Flaws in the product itself
Whatever the case may be, manufacturers are accountable for the quality of their products and must pay compensation to those injured by a medication.
Pharmaceutical lawsuits involving defective manufacturing more often than not concern drugs released and sold with unintended contaminants such as bacteria or chemicals. Such was the case in the recent fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections. In many cases, these types of flaws only affect small numbers of people. If the faulty process that causes the defect remains undetected for a substantial period, however, the number of people impacted can become quite substantial.
The second major type of pharmaceutical litigation involves drugs or medical equipment that have flaws that are inherent in their formulation or design. This most often involves drugs with undisclosed or unanticipated side effects. But it can also include implants or other medical equipment, such as transvaginal mesh, that fail prematurely or cause unintended side effects due to a feature of their design. These cases can affect a much broader group of people because anyone who used the product is potentially a victim. Moreover, it is all too common for the public to eventually learn that the manufacturer was aware of the flaws in their products but covered them up or rushed them to market for the sake of profit.