Where do you go from here?

Huntsville DoctorMany people who are suffering from adverse side effects of a dangerous drug or medical device often feel as if they have no other choice but to suffer for the rest of their lives. For many, the damage is irreversible. From bladder cancer to pancreatic cancer to thyroid cancer to heart attack to mesothelioma and everything in between, prescription drugs can leave you in a much worse condition than when you started.

One of your options may be to file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturers, prescribing doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, and/or testing laboratories, as discussed earlier in this guide. If this is the case, remember that you are not alone—in fact, you are far from it. Thousands and thousands of lawsuits have been filed against a single drug, and some companies are facing lawsuits from several of their products. This is a lot of legal activity, to say the least.

But lawsuits may or may not be your only recourse. Depending on your situation, you may be able to reverse some of the damage through further medical treatment. This may make you leery, especially after having been led astray by the medical community with your initial “treatment.”

However, we encourage you not to lose your faith in the medical community completely. There are physicians, surgeons, and other medical professionals who specialize in treating the complications caused by various drugs and medical devices. For instance, a urogynecologist with special training may be able to surgically correct tissue and nerve damage as well as to reconstruct lost tissue in women with transvaginal mesh implants. Or an orthopedic surgeon may be able to perform revision surgeries to treat a faulty or otherwise injurious hip replacement.

If you decide to seek further medical treatment to address complications from a drug or medical device, it is critical that you find the right doctor. Be advised that this most likely will not be as easy as finding a regular doctor to perform your average treatment. This may mean traveling out of state or, sometimes, out of the country. Make sure to do your research before making your decision. Use your resources: Ask your primary care physician for recommendations and use the Internet to search through online doctor reviews. Insurance coverage and hospital affiliation should also play a role in your decision. Perhaps equally important is how you feel in the doctor’s presence as well as with the staff.

Are pharmaceutical companies paying your doctor?

Finally, we recommend that you know the doctor’s relationship with pharmaceutical companies. Your doctor should have your best interest at heart and no one else’s.

Since the passing of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act in 2010, pharmaceutical and medical device companies are required to release information about payments made to doctors and other health professionals for promotional talks, research, and consulting. As of 2013, seventeen companies had published this information. The investigative reporters at ProPublica, an independent non-profit newsroom committed to providing factual stories as opposed to mere opinion, pulled together the information provided from these 17 companies and created a database called “Dollars for Docs” where you can search for specific doctors to see if they received drug company money from August 2013 to December 2014. For older records dating back to 2009, you can search their archive.

However, keep in mind that this is an incomplete database in that it is limited to the companies that have disclosed information on their websites. Their combined prescription drug sales accounted for about half of U.S. sales in 2013. There are still dozens of pharmaceutical and medical device companies that have yet to report their payments. Read some more key points about the data before using the database to search for a doctor.

You could also ask your doctor’s office about their connection with these companies. Do they allow pharmaceutical reps in their office to pitch new drugs? Do you see pens and other promotional material around the office for pharmaceutical brands? If so, you might inquire further about their relationship with those particular brands.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

If you think you are ready to pursue recourse through legal action, you will need a personal injury attorney on your side. The attorneys at Martinson & Beason, P.C. in Huntsville, Alabama, have been protecting injury victims throughout Alabama since 1937. We are invested in the well-being of our community, and we will do everything in our power to continue to protect the rights of hurt individuals and their families. Read more about our attorneys and contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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