When people think about defective drugs, they tend to think about drugs that have unintended side effects. A drug is supposed to help with headaches, for instance, but it causes those who take it to have a stroke. A drug is supposed to be safe for long-term use, but those who take it for 10 years see an elevated cancer risk. There is something inherently wrong with the drug itself and it’s dangerous to use it.
However, it’s important to remember that the labeling can be “defective” and may make the drug dangerous, even when the drug itself is safe and works as intended. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically notes that labeling concerns are an issue they deal with.
For instance, a given medication may be safe to take one dose (two pills) every four hours. This is how it was designed and the tests to see if it was safe centered around that usage. If the packaging inadvertently says that people can take four pills every two hours — merely switching the numbers around from the standard of two pills every four hours — the medicine could become inherently dangerous. Anyone who actually follows those directions is going to overdose. That could lead to serious illness or it could even have fatal consequences.
This is just one example of how defective drugs may not always look exactly like you assume. It’s important to know what dangers to watch out for, and you also need to know what legal options you have if you’ve suffered harm.