Cancer drug's FDA warning may portend product liability claims

When news of a prescription drug-related death surfaces, readers may question what legal options are available to surviving loved ones. 

Our personal injury attorneys have helped victims of negligence in many contexts. When a death was caused by another’s negligence, a wrongful death claim brought by the estate may be viable. The underlying theory of liability may vary, depending on the type of negligence. In the case of a dangerous or defective drug, the estate might assert a product liability claim. The unifying factor, unfortunately, is an allegation of negligence that resulted in tragedy.

In a recent example, the injured patients or surviving loved ones of victims of the cancer drug Zydelig may be in need of legal consultations. According to a recently issued warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug is no longer approved for previously untreated patients. That warning modifies the previous regulatory approval, granted in 2014, for prescribing the drug for three blood cancers. The exact number of patients injured or killed by the drug is uncertain, but FDA authorities apparently had enough concern to issue the recent warning.

The drug maker, Gilead Sciences, reportedly made $132 million in just one year. Bringing a product liability claim against a corporation with those resources may seem intimidating. In addition, a spokesperson asserted that the company intends to submit additional studies to the FDA for review. Yet an initial FDA approval cannot be used to shield a company from a product liability claim. Our attorneys aggressively investigate product liability allegations to determine whether any corners were cut. 

Source: MedCity News, “Gilead Sciences holding off on six trials for its cancer drug Zydelig due to concerns of adverse effects and deaths,” Nicole Oran, March 16, 2016

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