Intellectual Property Violation
The most common cases that these lawyers work on are for consumers and against companies. That being said, these medical businesses occasionally employ pharmaceutical attorneys when they believe that their intellectual property has been violated. Medicine is a massive industry, so these companies take their intellectual property very seriously.
An area that pharmaceutical litigation professionals frequently work in is patents. When a company invents a new medicine or practice, they obtain a legal document that gives them the sole right to produce or perform it for some amount of time. If another company infringes on that right, the original inventor may take legal action.
The medicinal industry is heavily regulated because unsafe drugs can have such dire consequences. One of the top names in regulation is the FDA, but there are many legal and regulatory hoops that companies jump through to get their medicine on the market. Still, some unsafe ones slip through the cracks and make their way to consumers.
One example is Accutane, an acne medication produced by the Hoffmann - La Roche pharmaceutical group. Though the drug was successful in curing acne, it had unforeseen side effects, including a higher risk of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's, disease, congenital disabilities, and more. Another is Fosamax, an osteoporosis medication that caused jaw deterioration and esophagus ulcers. As you can see, drug safety issues are no trivial matter, which is why pharmaceutical litigation services can be so important.
Sometimes, the company that sells a medication fails to include side effects and other health issues in advertisements to consumers and doctors. Whether this error is an honest accident or a deliberate admission, it is not acceptable. First, consumers need to know what risks come along with taking a particular drug. If they do not, a side effect could sneak up on them and negatively impact their lives. Next, doctors need all of this information too. They could end up prescribing medicine to a patient and hurting them because of a lack of knowledge. These factors combine to make illegal marketing a critical issue in pharmaceutical litigation.
There are three distribution issues that might warrant talking to a lawyer. First is selling prescription drugs over the counter. While this issue does not affect consumers, it is a way that pharmacists run into legal trouble. Second, you and a lawyer might decide that a doctor prescribed too high of a quantity. If their recommended dosage put you in danger, you could have a case. Lastly, pharmaceutical lawyers occasionally work with or against people that sell medicine on the black market. It is more common for criminal lawyers to work these types of cases, though.
Dysfunctional Medical Devices
Though the name of this legal category implies that it only works with medicine, there is overlap with medical devices. If you receive a piece of equipment, like a hip replacement, and it hurts you in any way, you may want to pursue compensation from the manufacturer. Many pharmaceutical lawyers also work in medical malpractice, so they will be a one-stop shop for your legal needs.
The general wisdom of the legal industry is that you want a lawyer that specializes in your type of situation over one with a general practice. If you have an issue with medicine or medical devices, your specialist will be a pharmaceutical litigation expert. Once you find one, they can tell you whether or not you have a legitimate chance and help you make your case.