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Legal options for West Virginians injured by a defective drug

Those injured by a product have options when seeking compensation. Cabell County readers may know that the CDC and FDA recently advised medical professionals not to use any medical products produced by the New England Compounding Center due to an outbreak of fungal meningitis that has been linked to some medications produced by the company.

The outbreak has led to injury and five deaths out of thirty-five cases that have so far been identified in six states. Some twenty-three states, including West Virginia, and seventy-five facilities may be affected. In all, three lots of the tainted drug have been recalled. There have been complaints about the company in the past.

Overall, the victims were otherwise healthy individuals. Fungal meningitis is non-contagious and can be treated with antifungal medications-the earlier treatment can begin the better. Symptoms include mild-stroke like symptoms as well as headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

Under product liability laws, drug manufacturers have a duty to test drugs and medications to ensure safety prior to release into the market. The Food and Drug Administration establishes testing guidelines for this purpose. Generally, in products liability cases, victims assert that the manufacturer should be liable for injury resulting from a defect in the product.

Plaintiffs in products liability cases can assert numerous different claims, including negligence, breach of implied warranty of fitness, breach of express warranty, fraud or deceit. The theory behind modern-day products liability law is that the manufacturer of a product implicitly warrants that the product is free from hidden defects. A products liability action may help the plaintiff recover for medical damages or pain and suffering. Wrongful death actions are also available to a plaintiff who has lost a loved one as a result of the negligence of another party.

Various legal options exist for those injured by a defective product such as a drug. These options may aid recovery of damages the victim has sustained as a result.

Source: CBS News, "Meningitis outbreak may affect more than 23 states," Rob Markman, Oct. 4, 2012.

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