Articles Posted in Defective Drugs

Prescription drugs are often a target of litigation for a variety of reasons. In some cases, risks relating to prescription drugs are not disclosed to the patient through the drug label so patients cannot truly make an informed decision about the drug to weigh the risks against the benefits. In these cases, a lawsuit may be appropriate if the patient experiences a serious illness when the risk becomes a reality. In other cases, the drugs are not properly manufactured which may lead to an improper dosage that may pose a risk to a patient.   There are other several reasons why a lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer of a drug when it relates to a life threatening illness that a patient encounters after taking the drug.     So, the following tips are designed to assist in in preventing the risk of a life threatening illness from a prescription medication.

  • Ask your physician to describe the risks and benefits associated with the medications you are being prescribed.
  • View your prescription before you leave your physician’s office. If the names of the drug, dosage or directions are not legible to you, ask the physician to clarify and write it down for your own records.

Lawsuits involving the manufacturer of Chantix surfaced appropriate two years ago when it was discovered that there was a high number of people who demonstrated hostility, violence, were at risk for suicide or committed suicide following use of the quit-smoking drug. In short, an elevated number of people using Chantix experienced one or more types of psychotic behaviors following use of the drug.

Recently, a Vermont man using Chantix murdered his mother and Chantix has been a focus in this litigation. The plaintiff’s attorneys contended that the man was under the influence of Chantix when he murdered his mother. This Vermont man is now facing seven to fifteen years in prison.

Since it was first discovered the Chantix is linked to psychotic behavior, Pfizer, the manufacturer, was required to place a black box warning on the drug label. Chantix was approved by the FDA

Risperdal and Requipare are two medications that have caused confusion in both people dispensing the medication and those receiving the medications. Both generic and brand names, risperidone (Risperdal) and ropinirole (Requip), have sounded similarly enough that the wrong medication has been dispensed to over 200 people. In several of these cases, people had to be hospitalized. The carton label and packaging are also similar, adding to the confusion. Pharmacists may have also misinterpreted the handwriting of the physicians who prescribed the medication since the names are spelled similarly. The drug strengths, dosages and times of day requirements for taking the drug are also similar. However, the two drugs are very different, as follows:

* Risperidone (Risperdal) is an antipsychotic drug that is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder.

* Ropinirole (Requip) is a dopamine type of drug that is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome.

Humira, manufactured by Abbott for the treatment of arthritis, has been known to cause a fungal infection, which may be life threatening in certain people who may be considered candidates for the medication. Since all medications have some level of risk,  this may not be a surprise. Yet, what is a surprise is that some suspect that Abbott did not disclose this risk to the public until after the company had distributed the medication nationwide.

In 2010, Abbott Laboratories filed a letter to make physicians aware of the risk of fungal infection associated with Humira use. However, some contend that Abbott knew about the risk of fungal infection for quite some time before the company issued the warning to physicians.   In 2008, the FDA required Abbott to warn physicians about several fatal risks associated with Humira, such as, Histoplasmosis.

Other side effects associated with Humira include: optic nerve damage, lymphoma, vision issues and other nerve damage.

Class Action Suit for Avandia in Illinois

Avandia is a target for over 40 lawsuits filed in Illinois that were filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court in May 2011. There are many other lawsuits throughout the U.S. against the makers of Avandia, a diabetes medication linked to cardiovascular disease and heart attack manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. It is contended that GlaxoSmithKline aware of the risk in 2005 but did not properly inform the public. Therefore, people were not permitted to make a well informed decision about the benefits and risks associated with the drug.  The most recent Avandia lawsuits filed in Illinois account for an estimated$600,000 in damages. 

Approximately four years ago, The New England Journal of Medicine released a report demonstrating the risk of cardiovascular issues associated with Avandia. The FDA then issued a black box warning about the risk of cardiovascular issues.   The injuries that people using Avandia have experienced include: congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke, liver failure, bone fractures, vision loss and death.  Despite the request from several interested parties to remove the drug from the consumer market, Avandia has never been recalled in the U.S. Instead, the FDA issued restrictions on the purchase of Avandia. The restrictions include that Avandia only be available at specific pharmacies. People interested in taking Avandia must participate in an educational program about the drug.

Indiana physician Mark Weinberger must now contend with over 20 criminal counts of billing insured patients for treatment he did not perform. The U.S. Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana recently rejected a plea agreement in which Mark Weinberger’s attorney suggested he receive four years in prison for his dishonest behavior. Collectively, all charges suggest that Mark Weinberger may be facing 220 years in prison to account for every break in the law. The District’s chief judge concluded that four years in prison was not substantial enough to cover over $300,000 in damages resulting from his behavior.

The precise charges that Weinberger faces is that he committed fraudulent billing,  during the time that he directed the Merrillville Center for Advanced Surgery LLC and Nose and Sinus Center LLC. In addition, he is facing hundreds of medical mal practice claims and nearly 6 million in creditor claims. The story first began in 2004 when one of his patients died and he abandoned the country days later.  His return to the U.S. did not go without a hunt because he failed to surface until he was discovered five years later in the Italian Alps.

Federal court docket records reflect that the plea deal was too lenient in light of the devastation that was caused by his actions.

Pharmacy mistakes have been vastly reduced with the assistance of computerized systems that monitor and track patient data, including: past medication history, current medication history, and the potential interaction between drugs, including: side effects associated with drugs you are taking or will be taking.

This provides for labels to be automatically printed with vital information to help you make well informed decisions about the medications you are taking or plan to take. Pharmacists are then obliged to review information about new medications you are taking and remind you about pertinent information regarding medications you have already taken, if necessary.

This system helps to reduce the risk that you will suffer from a complication if you take more than one drug since some drugs negatively interact with each other. This system also helps to inform you about restrictions while taking medications and ways to possibly reduce risks from medications.   Your physician will also consider other drugs you are taking and possible side effects before writing a prescription for a new drug.

Drug Take Back Day was in April set by The American Association of Poison Control Centers. Yet, Drug Take Back Day can be every time you complete taking medication to help ensure your medications do not get into the wrong hands or are resold to someone who may be at risk of injury if they take the drug. This is particularly true for narcotics which are associated with risks when not closely monitored by a physician.

Pill abuse and theft is more common than you may think. Medications were the leading cause of poisonous death in 2009. The vast majority of deaths were adults. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009 noted that more Americans abuse prescription drugs than the number of Americans that abuse cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined.

Proper disposal of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs is critically important to prevent abuse and theft. In fact, all medications should be properly stored in your home while you are taking them to ensure they do not get in the hands of your children or other outsiders that are not familiar with proper use, drug interactions, risks or possible side effects.

Benzocaine is used by babies to reduce teething pain and by adults for cancer sores or gum irritation. Yet, there has been a scare dating back to 2006 when many infants died and their deaths had been linked to benzocaine use. Now, since the death toll has risen to 319 deaths, the Food and Drug Administration has announced another warning about the use of benzocaine. In fact, Veteran’s Administration medical centers have abandoned the use of benzocaine.   As more organizations and people join together in the fight against the use of benzocaine, gels, sprays and  liquids, one day perhaps, all need not worry about the risk of a baby, typically younger than 2 years of age dying from benzocaine. Adults and seniors may also be at risk when it comes to benzocaine. If you or a loved one has had any of the below mentioned symptoms within two hours of taking benzocaine resulting in serious injury or death, you may be entitled to financial compensation due to a violation of your legal rights, including:

•   Headache

•  Dizziness or lightheadedness

Anytime you see an empty shelf at a drug store, your first inclination may be to think that the drug store has run short on supplies. So, you may look towards the right or left to see other products that you can choose from. In the case of Cold, Cough and Allergy over-the-counter drug products, you may have to scan your eyes further because over 20 Cold, Cough and Allergy over- the-counter drugs have been pulled from store shelves throughout the U.S.

This time the names of the drugs that are recalled may not be recognizable. There are many versions of cough, cold and allergy drugs that contain similar ingredients and the brand name of the drug may sound similar to the active ingredients listed on the label. It is some of these types of versions that have been recalled.

Anytime an active ingredient consists of a prescription strength concentration level, the drug must be properly evaluated for safety, effectiveness and quality. Independent clinical trials, often funded by the manufacturer, must be conducted to rule and identify risks, including risks for people considered in the high risk category. People in the high risk category are often people who take other medications because some prescription medications may harmfully interact with the over-the-counter product and/or other medications you are taking. People in the high risk category may also be people who have certain medical conditions which may make them more sensitive to the results of taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

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