Understanding Failure to Warn Drug Disputes in Maryland

When you take a prescription drug, there are often numerous warnings and disclaimers that are included with the medication you are taking. Pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are often subject to labeling requirements and regulations that ensure consumers and their physicians are adequately warned about the potential risks of a medication. Thus, when a warning label fails to account for a risk that and it results in a patient injury, consumers often bring lawsuits against the company alleging a failure to warn and seeking compensation.

In a recent circuit court opinion, the court considered details surrounding warning labels on drugs. In the case at hand, the plaintiff was diagnosed with advanced-stage kidney disease after taking a drug manufactured by the defendant. According to the plaintiff, the defendant pharmaceutical manufacturing company should have more explicitly warned his doctor to regularly monitor his kidney function after prescribing the drug. If the drug’s warning label had been better, the plaintiff contended, then the physician would have monitored him differently after prescribing the drug, discovered the impact on his kidneys sooner, and prevented his injury. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant manufacturing company.

On appeal, the court considered whether summary judgment was proper in dismissing the plaintiff’s failure to warn claim. The plaintiff argued that the lower court erred in concluding that his doctor, as a matter of undisputed fact, would have pursued the same course of treatment no matter what the warning label stated. The circuit court agreed, holding that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendants.

Prescription drug manufacturers have a duty to provide a warning to consumers that adequately informs the patient of the product’s potential risks. Drug manufacturers are generally required to inform consumers of unreasonably dangerous conditions or features unless the risks associated with the product are so well known or blatantly obvious that such a warning is not required. Warnings provided by the company must be easy to comprehend, direct, and clear.

What Does a Patient Need to Prove in a Failure to Warn Claim?

Typically, to succeed on a failure to warn claim, patients must show that the label’s inadequacies actually and proximately caused their injury. Thus, plaintiffs must show that curing the label’s inadequacies would have altered the prescribing physician’s conduct or treatment in a way that would have prevented the patient’s injury. When assessing these claims, Maryland courts will typically examine the knowledge and expertise of the consumer when considering whether they would have been reasonably expected to fully understand the risks of a drug or prescription.

In Maryland, the law adheres to a “strict liability” framework when determining whether a pharmaceutical drug company is liable for a failure to warn. This means that the company can be held liable for any subsequent injuries that were caused by a company’s failure to warn regardless of the manufacturer’s negligence or knowledge.

Do You Need a Maryland Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was injured or killed by a Maryland medication error, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen for assistance today. Our lawyers have represented clients in all types of personal injury claims and will provide you with the support you need to navigate your claim with ease. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team today, contact us at 800-654-1949.

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