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Pfizer Settles for $400,000 the Massachusetts Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Filed by Family of Neurontin User who Committed Suicide

Pfizer has settled the Boston wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Hartley Shearer for $400,000. Shearer, 57, committed suicide 16 months after he started taking the epilepsy drug. In their Massachusetts dangerous drug complaint that they filed in federal court in Boston, the plaintiffs, Hartley’s widow and son, had accused Pfizer of failing to warn doctors and patients that Neurontin can increase the risk of suicide.

Over 1,000 dangerous drug lawsuits have been filed accusing Pfizer of illegally marketing Neurontin for unapproved uses and contributing to the suicide deaths of a number of users. While the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Neurontin for treatment of epilepsy and shingles, the medication’s off label uses have included:

• Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy • Attention Deficit Disorder • Restless Leg Syndrome • Post-Hepatic Neuralgia • Drug Withdrawal Seizures • Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures • Trigeminal Neuralgia
Just last month, another Boston jury ordered the drugmaker to pay Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals $47.36 million, which, under the racketeering law, is tripled to over $140 million in damages.

Kaiser said that its doctors were misled into believing that Neurontin could be used for unapproved purposes. The insurer claims it had to pay $90 million more than it should have because of the drug.

Side Effects Associated with Neurontin:

• Paranoia • Suicidal behavior • Hostility • Memory loss • Depression • Unsteadiness
• Abnormal thinking • Severe mania • Dizziness • Nausea • Lack of coordination • Drowsiness • Ataxia • Vomiting • Viral infection • Fatigue
If you believe that your loved one’s death was caused by a dangerous drug or because the manufacturer failed to warn of possible side effects, you may have grounds for filing a Boston dangerous drug lawsuit against a negligent pharmaceutical company.

Pfizer Defends Epilepsy Drug Neurontin at Fraud Trial (Update3), BusinessWeek, March 23, 2010
Pfizer faces $142 million in damages for drug fraud, KBOI2.com/AP, March 26, 2010

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