The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about the use by parents of certain medications to numb the gums of their teething children. Some of these medications, which have been used by parents across the country to diminish their babies’ teething pain, can be obtained only by prescription and contain a substance known as viscous lidocaine, which has been reported to cause serious injury or death to children on whom it is used.
The FDA has issued similar warnings about over the counter (OTC) medications specifically intended to be used to numb a child’s mouth pain during teething and which have been reported to cause severe reductions in the amount of oxygen carried through children’s bloodstreams, resulting in serious injury or death.
The FDA regulates both prescription and OTC medications. Despite approval of certain medications by the FDA, however, medications may be found to constitute risks and dangers not previously known or suspected. When this occurs and a child is injured, the manufacturer may be liable for the child’s injuries despite prior FDA approval of the product.
In some jurisdictions, a plaintiff’s right to sue a drug manufacturer for injuries caused by defective or dangerous drugs has been curtailed. An experienced accident lawyer, personal-injury lawyer, wrongful-death lawyer, defective-child-products lawyer, or child-injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options if your child has been injured by a medication intended for a child’s use. Nationally-recognized child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience with all types of child-injury and accident cases, including those involving injuries to children through the use of dangerous or defective medications. If your child has sustained an injury through the use of a medication, particularly one that has been specifically prescribed or intended for a child’s use, attorney Killino can provide you with compassionate and expert assistance in pursuing your legal right to compensation for the injuries your child has suffered.
Legal Liability for Children’s Medication Injuries
The manufacturer of a product intended for the public’s use owes a duty of care to make that product as safe for the consumer’s use as is reasonably possible for the product in question. The FDA studies and approves drugs and medications after consideration of their uses as well as potential dangers. In some cases, the information upon which FDA approval is based is incomplete or even inaccurate. When the FDA discovers dangers involved in a product’s use after the product has already been approved and put on the market, the FDA may issue a warning, as it has in the case of the teething medications discussed above.
Though manufacturers of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product may generally be found liable under product-liability law for injuries caused by a product’s defect, manufacturers of drugs have received some protection from such liability in an attempt to encourage these companies to continue to provide the public with these much-needed products. For instance, federal laws have protected manufacturers of certain vaccines and medical devices. Some states have also enacted laws protecting manufacturers from product-liability suits.
These protections against liability are not necessarily complete, however. For example, claim procedure for injuries caused by the use of vaccines has been made available through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 only bar state-court claims for products that received FDA approval.
Liability for Injuries Caused by Drugs and Medications under Product-liability Law
In jurisdictions in which manufacturers may be subject to product-liability actions for injuries caused by defective drugs and medications, several different types of product-liability claims may be brought to obtain damages for injuries sustained through the use of a defective drug or medication. Such products may be considered to contain defects in the manufacture, design, or warning of the product. If a product is found to contain any of these types of defects and the defect is found to have been a cause of a plaintiff’s injuries, the manufacturer as well as others in the chain of the product’s distribution may be held liable in a product-liability action for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Certain products are considered to fall into a category of products that cannot be made reasonably safe for their intended use; such products are not considered defective as a result of this unreasonable danger. Injuries caused through the use of unavoidably unsafe products, including unavoidably unsafe drugs or medications, will not generally lead to liability on the part of the product’s manufacturer for injuries sustained through use of the product, particularly where the product contains adequate warnings of its dangers.
But when a medication, drug, or other product does not fall into this “unavoidably unsafe” category, a defect that renders the drug unsafe for its intended use can result in liability on the part of the manufacturer of the product if the defect is found to have been a cause of a plaintiff’s injuries.
Thus, a drug or other medication intended for a child’s use—and that is not considered unavoidably unsafe—may be found defective if designed or manufactured in such a way as to make it unreasonably dangerous for its intended use. Such a drug or medication may also be found defective if it does not contain adequate warnings regarding its dangers or adequate instructions for its proper and safe use. Adequate drug use and safety warnings must include those that will enable a physician to safely prescribe the medication and/or those that will enable a consumer to safely choose when and how to use the medication.
Obtain Expert Assistance from Nationally-recognized Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino
If your child has been injured or killed through the use of a prescription or over-the-counter medication, nationally-recognized child-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino and his team of accident attorneys, personal-injury attorneys, wrongful-death attorneys, defective-child-products attorneys, and child-injury attorneys will help you obtain the justice to which you are entitled from those responsible for your child’s injuries or death.