According to the Florida Department of Health, 105,207 primary cancers were diagnosed in Florida in 2008 and 40,621 Floridians died over the course of the year due to various cancers. Cancer often has indeterminate causes and it is unclear why the disease develops for many patients. However, there are circumstances under which the use of prescription and nonprescription medications have been linked to an increased cancer risk.
Some medications will be released despite a known cancer risk, but the drug manufacturer under these circumstances has an obligation to provide appropriate warnings to patients so they may make an informed choice regarding the use of the medication. In some cases, the cancer risk is not discovered or disclosed before the medication comes to market and the increased risk only becomes apparent over time. Under both circumstances, the drug manufacturer would be held liable for losses and damages. Drug manufacturers may be held liable under strict liability rules applicable to product defect cases, or may be held accountable for failure to fulfill their duty to warn patients of medication dangers.
There are many examples of medications which have been linked to an increased cancer risk, including diabetes drugs in the incretin mimetic class. These medications may increase the risk of pancreatic or thyroid cancer. Blood pressure medications which function as angiotensin-receptor blockers may also increase the risks of certain cancers.
When a medication is linked to an increased cancer risk, it is common for many plaintiffs to come forward to pursue civil claims for compensation. Class actions or multi-district litigation may result as plaintiffs seek compensation for the losses resulting from defective drugs or from failure of manufacturers to provide warning of risks.