Who Is Liable For Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths?

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The word "drug" has developed a negative connotation over the decades. Illegal substances typically leap to mind, but the term "Drug Store" can conjure images of relieving cold medicine and painkillers.

Legal or illegal, any drug can be deadly if taken in excess. When it comes to elicit and illegal drugs, blame is usually easy to assign. When it comes to prescription drugs, however, the question of who is liable becomes difficult to answer.

The Facts

Keep in mind the differences between over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Over-the-counter drugs are drugs that can be purchased like any item in a store, with no license or permission.

The issue with prescription drugs is that they require authorization from a doctor and distribution from a pharmacist. As with anything, the more parties involved, the more complicated things get.

The Issues

Doctors have a duty to protect their patients, which sometimes requires issuing a drug that can be dangerous if abused. There are a number of factors to consider; is the drug consistent with the patient's medical condition, how much should be given, could the drug be used for illegitimate purposes, and so on.

The question of who is liable could very well depend on individual situations. For example, if a doctor knows that a patient has a history of addiction, yet issues something like OxyContin, the doctor will most likely be found guilty of negligence. However, if that same patient is legitimately suffering from severe pain and, even after consulting the family, the doctor prescribes the drug anyway, liability could shift.

The Truth

Unfortunately, the only certainty is that overdose from prescription drugs is becoming a more pressing issue in America as people drown in prescription drugs and the culprits could very well be Americans themselves. Arguably, this culture has become more and more fixated on having everything instantly, which includes cures.

At times, a patient may want a drug for a problem that was caused by another drug. Blaming big business has grown easy, and there are some who like to blame pharmaceutical companies due to the large kickback they get from sales. As Forbes contends, many blame the pharmaceutical industry for the current heroin epidemic in the United States.

If you or a loved one has suffered from an accident related to prescription drugs, the best thing you can do is consult with a lawyer. When the offender could be anyone from the doctor to the pharmacist to the patient themselves, professional advice is always recommended. Visit http://www.vanblk.com for more information.