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Why is a drug company's duty to physicians and not patients?

We live in a world where there is a pill for everything. That being said, it should come as no surprise that many pharmaceuticals come with extensive lists of side effects. Occasionally, these potential side effects produce very real health concerns. When a prescribed pharmaceutical causes significant injury or loss to a patient, they may be surprised to find out that it's not the pharmaceutical company that may be held responsible.

In rare cases, a pharmaceutical company can be held responsible for injuries caused to a patient by their product. In order for drug companies to be held liable, it must be proven that they failed to warn health care providers of their product's dangers and potential side effects. So long as the pharmaceutical manufacturer made the physician aware of any and all risks associated with their product, they are generally not held accountable for a patient's injuries.

Unlike pharmaceutical companies where their primary duty is to the physician, a physician's primary duty is to their patients. In the context of prescribing pharmaceuticals, a doctor's superior medical knowledge combined with a drug company's full disclosure of a product's information means that a medical provider is seen as the foremost authority on its usage. Therefore, when a patient is injured by a pharmaceutical company's products, usually it is the prescribing physician that is on the hook for medical malpractice.

Most pharmaceutical products carry some level of risk to patients. When patients willingly take their doctor's advice and use these products, they assume the risk involved. While there may not be grounds for a lawsuit between a patient and the pharmaceutical company, patients that have suffered an injury from a doctor prescribed medication may still be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

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