Can You Sue For Being Sold Counterfeit Drugs?

9 April 2019
 Categories: Law, Blog

Medication can be prohibitively expensive, and many people turn to alternative sellers in an effort to save money on the medicines they need to keep them healthy and alive. Unfortunately, like every other industry, the pharmaceutical market is plagued by the problem of counterfeits; drugs that look like the real thing but are nothing more than placebos at best. However, being compensated for injuries caused by counterfeit drugs can be challenging. Here's what you need to know.

Assigning Liability

To win a personal injury case involving counterfeit medications, you must prove the offending party knew or should have known the drugs he or she was selling you were fake. This isn't always as easy as it sounds, because even reputable companies can be fooled by criminals who manage to infiltrate the supply chain in some way.

For instance, CVS was a defendant in a lawsuit that claimed the company sold a counterfeit version of an injectible medication called Epogen. The plaintiff claimed a distribution company purchased the fake medication from a questionable wholesaler and, in turn, sold it to CVS.

To hold the retailer responsible for selling the counterfeit drug, the plaintiff has to show the company knew or should have known it was getting a bad product from its supplier, which can be difficult since there was basically a middle man between CVS and the wholesaler. However, a case could be made that the company should have had processes in place to verify the legitimacy of the medication it received and not having those procedures or failing to use them to properly vet the drugs could form the basis of the company's liability for selling counterfeit meds.

When litigating your case, it'll be important to obtain as much information from the companies involved during the discovery phase so you can properly show their culpability in providing you with a fake medication.

Locating and Suing the Offender

Another issue that can stymie your efforts to collect compensation for injuries related to using counterfeit medications is actually locating the offender. The trouble is most offenders do their work online, selling the fake meds through websites. Unfortunately, many of these companies will use false information to obscure their real location, making it hard to find them and serve them with lawsuit papers.

However, even if you do find the offenders, the people may be located in another country, which means you'll either have to find a way to force them to come to the states to answer the lawsuit or sue the defendant in his or her home country using laws that may not be plaintiff-friendly.

It's best to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer, who can help you determine the best way to proceed to obtain the outcome you want.