Articles Posted in Pharmaceutical Injuries

The First District Appellate Court affirmed a decision of a Cook County trial court.

In 1999, Snake River Technology d/b/a Rocky Mountain Cryobanks, a Wyoming company, was purchased by the New England Cryogenics Center, a Massachusetts corporation that collects, stores and sells human sperm.

The purchase included the sperm donor samples in possession of Snake River. In 2009, one such sperm sample was sold to an Oklahoma couple, the Kretchmars, who had a child. The child developed cystic fibrosis; a genetic test revealed that the child had received the Delta-F508 cystic fibrosis gene mutation from the donor sperm.

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago has affirmed the grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment in the plaintiff’s lawsuit that alleged that the product Testim, which was manufactured by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals as a topical gel containing testosterone, caused the plaintiff, Isaac Owens, to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The federal district court in Chicago granted Auxilium’s motion to exclude Owens’ sole expert witness on the issue of causation linking Testim to his medical condition.

The appeals panel stated that the district court could properly exclude causation testimony from the Owens’ expert, when: (1) although the expert opined that Testim had caused plaintiff’s DVT, he did so under the assumption that Owens was applying the prescribed dose of the gel in the proper manner; (2) Owens conceded that he had used only half of the prescribed dosage and applied the gel in the wrong parts of his body; and (3) Owens’ expert could not express an opinion regarding causation under circumstances that more accurately described Owens’ use and application of Testim.

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Sherr-Una Booker, 37, was implanted with a Bard G2 blood filter on June 21, 2007. The blood filter was intended to prevent blood clots. It broke apart, spreading metal fragments that had to be removed from her heart. She required open-heart surgery.

These inferior vena cava (IVC) filters — like the one implanted in Booker’s heart — have been implanted in thousands of patients around the country although there is little evidence that they provide much of a benefit. The filters are described as little wire cages that are designed to catch blood clots. There is some evidence that suggests that the IVCs create more clots than they actually prevent.

The many lawsuits that are pending allege that the IVC filters are negligently designed and break apart over time. The fractured IVCs can cause serious injuries like those sustained by Booker.

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An Indiana federal jury returned a $35 million verdict in favor of Barbara Kaiser who alleged she was injured by a vaginal mesh implant.

The jury’s verdict found that defendants Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon Inc. were negligent in the design of the trans-vaginal mesh and then chose not to adequately warn patients and physicians of the risk.

Trans-vaginal mesh is used to treat stressed urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when a woman’s bladder or another pelvic organ drops from its normal place and then pushes up against the walls of the vagina.

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Baxter International was sued in a second wave of multidistrict litigation filed by hemophiliacs who alleged that they contracted HIV or Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products. Baxter paid $15 million to settle the lawsuits and then filed its own lawsuit against Axa Versicherung and a German insurance company for indemnification.

During discovery, Axa demanded that the lawyers handling the insurance coverage matter for Baxter turn over its memos and e-mails that it delivered to it. Baxter blacked out or redacted the lawyer’s analysis of insurance coverage issues in the production material it did produce. In other words, Baxter decided to edit the discovery it produced, saying that Axa was not entitled to the legal analysis found in some of the e-mails and memos.

Axa’s motion to compel relied on the Illinois Supreme Court opinion in Waste Management v. International Surplus Lines Insurance Co., 144 Ill.2d 178 (1991), which ruled that attorney-client privilege did not apply to the insured’s communications with its counsel about the underlying tort litigation.

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A U.S. district court judge has rejected the attempts of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. to overturn the combined $9 billion punitive-damage award that a jury recently returned. The verdict came down in a case that involved claims that the drug makers chose to hide the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes drug. The presiding judge held that the jury properly considered evidence that showed officials of the Osaka, Japan-based Takeda, and Indianapolis-based Lily had advance knowledge that Actos was associated with bladder cancer and chose not to properly and efficiently warn doctors and patients about those risks.

However, although the judge upheld the jury’s verdict, the judge is still considering another motion that was brought post-trial by the defendants for a new trial. That motion is pending for a case of Terrence Allen v. Takeda, et al., which was the first federal trial over claims that Actos causes bladder cancer.

The widespread sales of the Actos pharmaceutical product reached its highest level on March 2011 when the product had sales of $4.5 billion and accounted for 27% of Takeda’s revenue in total. Since the time Actos was released by Takeda in 1999, it had made sales in excess of $16 billion. Today Takeda must contend with generic competition from other drug makers.

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The Paxil drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline, LLC (GSK) is defending product-liability lawsuits in Chicago’s federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois. GSK manufactures the antidepressant Paxil, which is the brand-name of paroxetine hydrochloride.

In one of the many lawsuits that are pending, a 2010 suicide took place just six days after the man started to take the generic version of Paxil. The wife of the decedent filed a lawsuit in federal court under diversity jurisdiction against GSK and Mylane, who is the maker of paroxetine, which was part of the medicine taken by the decedent.

The lawsuit alleged that the paroxetine label used at the time of the decedent’s death failed to warn users of an increased risk of suicide in adults.

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The U.S. Justice Department reached a settlement with Johnson & Johnson, which is the maker of Risperdal. The settlement of $2.2 billion and a misdemeanor plea comes after a long investigation into the marketing of the pharmaceutical product, Risperdal. It is an anti-psychotic drug known to deliver harmful side effects, especially to young boys and young men most often prescribed the medicine.

In this case, the Department of Justice engaged several whistleblowers around the country to help the investigation and act as Johnson & Johnson informants. In fact, collectively, the whistleblowers will receive upwards of $167 million for their efforts.

The whistleblowers took great risk in assisting the Department of Justice in this investigation. Some of the whistleblowers went undercover, wore a wire, helped in prepping the department lawyers for depositions and otherwise risked their livelihood and their careers.

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A settlement agreement that includes claims of more than 1,200 plaintiffs in federal and state courts has been reached with Merck & Co. Inc. to pay $27.7 million related to the bone drug Fosamax. Fosamax has been claimed to have caused a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteonecrosis is a serious bone disease first associated with high doses of bisphosphanates used for oncology patients. Even lower doses of bisphosphanates have been associated with this condition. Fosamax contains some of this product used for patients with bone disorders, such as osteoporosis.

The settlement was reached after a district court judge handling the multidistrict litigation (MDL) ordered 200 cases per month sent back to their home courts for further disposition and trial. None of the transfers had occurred before the settlement was reached. 

This litigation began in 2005 with seven bellwether trials having gone to jury verdicts. Merck was successful in winning five of those cases, but also lost two cases in which the verdicts were $285,000 and $8 million. The latter verdict was later reduced to $1.5 million. This settlement does not include another set of cases alleging that Fosamax causes femur fractures.  Those claims are in a separate multidistrict litigation federal court and are still pending.

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Federal District Court Judge Hon. David R. Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois has ordered that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) pay $1 million in sanctions for discovery abuses in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the oral anticoagulant Predaxa. This same U.S. Federal District Court, also in the Southern District of Illinois, is where many of the country’s  Yasmin and YAZ (Drospirenone)  birth control injury cases are being handled; also in an MDL.

Judge Herndon found that BIPI, the maker of Predaxa, had chosen not to produce thousands of documents to the plaintiffs, which the judge determined was bad-faith conduct. 

According to the order, BIPI and its German parent company were unable to explain why it chose not to produce critical documents and communications by a deadline set by the judge. The deadline was in June 2012. 

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