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Articles Tagged with Dangerous products

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medical-tools-placed-on-tray-in-modern-clinic-3884085-300x200A recent case provides insight for Texas plaintiffs suing manufacturers for injuries caused by their products. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured after her dentist inappropriately used a product to clean her dentures. The plaintiff later suffered significant injuries when the dentures were placed in her mouth. After suing the dentist and the product’s manufacturer, the plaintiff’s claim against the manufacturer was dismissed by the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiff’s claim against the manufacturer was based on a failure to warn. The theory underlying failure to warn claims is that a product’s manufacturer has a responsibility to warn users of harmful effects. As one court explained, “in a failure-to-warn case, the plaintiff must show that the warning was defective and that this…was the producing cause of the plaintiff’s injury.” These cases typically come down to a question of whether the warning was adequate. In other words, a plaintiff will generally be able to recover if the judge or jury believes that the manufacturer’s warning was not sufficient to warn the plaintiff against the type of injury that occurred.

In this case, the plaintiff’s claim was unsuccessful because the product’s label contained language warning against using the product in the manner that caused the plaintiff’s injury. The warning label on the product stated that it was not to be used to disinfect dentures or the surface of any other instrument that would come into contact with mucous membranes. By instructing his assistant to soak the dentures in the product for fifteen minutes before placing the dentures back in the plaintiff’s mouth, the dentist caused the plaintiff’s injury by using the product in the exact manner that the warning label prohibited. When a product’s warning warns against the very activity that causes injury, the warning is deemed adequate as a matter of law, and the plaintiff’s claim automatically fails. For this reason, the plaintiff’s claim was unsuccessful.

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red-and-white-medication-pills-3683041-scaledApril 11, 2020 Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that manufacturers should withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs containing ranitidine. According to a recent news report, the announcement comes after a lengthy investigation of a contaminate commonly found in ranitidine medications, such as Zantac. Individuals who have suffered serious injuries, illnesses, or death after using this product may have a claim under Texas product liability laws.

The impurity is considered a likely human carcinogen, and although small amounts are commonly ingested through diet, higher levels of exposure could increase an individual’s cancer risk. At the outset of the FDA’s investigations, the agency did not have enough information to determine whether the product was safe or if consumers should continue to use the products. However, new FDA testing revealed that the impurity in these products increases over time or at higher temperatures, and may result in unacceptable consumer exposure. The FDA stated that many of their samples did not contain unacceptable levels; however, the product requires further testing to ensure consumer safety. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requires that consumers and patients dispose of their medication by following the specific disposal instructions found on the medication’s packaging, instead of returning their medicines at a drop-off location.

Despite extensive federal regulations, many unsafe drugs make it onto the market, and the consequences can be devastating. There are three main types of Texas pharmaceutical and prescription drug product liability lawsuits. The lawsuits typically stem from design errors, manufacturing defects, or improper marketing. Design error lawsuits generally arise when a product is unreasonably dangerous, despite proper use. These lawsuits do not frequently occur because many of these drugs do not make it onto the market. Manufacturing defect claims arise when the drug’s design is appropriate, but some manufacturing or handling error happens that renders the product unsafe. Finally, improperly marketed drug lawsuits arise when a company has inadequate or improper warning labels, that fail to warn consumers of potential side effects. However, in some cases, Texas’s learned intermediary doctrine works to shift the burden of liability from the company to the patient’s prescribing doctor.

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