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Report Says Women Are at Greater Risk of Exposure to Dangerous Drugs and Medical Devices


Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on May 30, 2017 in Product Liability

female patient meeting with doctorThe American Association for Justice (AAJ) released an extensive new report showing that women have a much higher risk of being exposed to dangerous drugs and medical devices than men.

Over the last 150 years, a disproportionately higher number of women than men have been harmed by dangerous or defective drugs and defective medical products.

In the late 1800s, women were given morphine for hysteria, and doctors in the early 20th century encouraged women to use Lysol as a douche. In recent years, women have suffered severe injuries from products like vaginal mesh and birth control products Yaz and Essure.

This corporate wrongdoing has been exposed through thousands of product liability lawsuits filed by women who were injured by defective drugs or devices.

Reasons Women Are at Greater Risk

Part of the reason women are more at risk for severe injury than men is because they take more medications, according to the report, titled, From Accutane to Zonite: A History of Dangerous Drugs & Devices Marketed to Women.

Despite this fact, it was not until 1993 that laws were passed requiring women to be included in research. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still does not require drug trials to compare the efficacy of a drug in men compared to the efficacy of the drug in women.

Another problem with the FDA's approval process is that most medical devices are not approved by the FDA. Instead, devices are cleared based on assertions from the manufacturer that the device is similar to other devices already on the market.

Unfortunately, many drugs and medical devices have been cleared by regulators despite the fact manufacturers knew about serious health risks, according to the report.

Topics Covered in the Report

The report shows how numerous drugs and medical devices were marketed to women as far back as the 1880s, from talcum powder-based products for feminine hygiene, elixir sulfanilamide (raspberry anti-freeze) as an anti-infection drug to Dalkon Shields as intrauterine devices.

The report also details some of the injuries and deaths caused by these products, along with some of the lawsuits that have been filed against manufacturers over dangerous or deadly side effects.

New Legislation Could Put More Women at Risk

The AAJ report comes out as the U.S. House of Representatives considers a bill that would make it more difficult for women injured by defective drugs or medical devices to have their day in court.

H.R. 1215, also known as the Protecting Access to Care Act, gives health care providers immunity from product liability lawsuits alleging harm caused by drugs or devices that were approved by the FDA.  

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