Articles Posted in Dangerous Drugs

Johnson & Johnson will stop selling its popular talc-based baby powder globally starting next year, according to a corporate statement released in August. The multinational healthcare conglomerate had already discontinued talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada in 2020, but will now transition to cornstarch-based powder worldwide. Although the company says it stands behind the safety of the talc product, the announcement comes after thousands of lawsuits have claimed that Johnson & Johnson baby powder causes cancer.

What Do Baby Powder Lawsuits Claim?

Baby powder lawsuits assert that Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers knew their talc products were contaminated with asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral fiber known to cause cancer. Although the companies were aware that talc-based baby powder could cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, the victims claim, they did nothing to warn consumers of that risk. Many talcum powder cancer lawsuits have been brought by women who developed ovarian cancer after regularly using the product on their genital area for years.

Diabetes is one of the greatest public health concerns in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 37 million people (over 1 in 10) in the United States have the disease. Doctors wrote 214 million prescriptions for diabetes drugs in 2018, making it the sixth-largest class of medications prescribed in the U.S.

What does this mean to pharmaceutical companies? Staggering potential profits. The diabetes care drug market in North America reached over $29 billion in 2019—and is predicted to keep growing in the coming years. According to Reuters, over 50 new diabetes medications have hit the market in the past 20 years.

Onglyza (Saxagliptin) Safety Concerns

The FDA approved the drug Onglyza in 2009 to treat type 2 diabetes, which counts for 90%-95% of all diabetes cases. Onglyza belongs to a newer class of antidiabetic medications that help regulate insulin levels. Since it was launched, however, Onglyza has been linked to several serious and potentially fatal cardiac side effects.

After-market medical studies showed that Onglyza patients had an increased risk of hospitalization due to heart failure. In 2016, the FDA released a safety announcement to warn the public about the dangers of Onglyza and other medications containing saxagliptin. They also added new warnings to drug labels. But by then, saxagliptin had been on the market for years, exposing hundreds of thousands of patients to potentially fatal side effects.

Onglyza Lawsuits

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturer AstraZeneca for the medications Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR (both of which contain saxagliptin). Onglyza lawsuits claim that AstraZeneca ignored patient safety, launching the drug into the market before thoroughly studying the health risks on diabetes patients.

In 2008, the FDA had announced a recommendation for the entire class of newer medications for type 2 diabetes. The guidance asked manufacturers to show that the new antidiabetic drugs did not cause an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk.

The manufacturer released Onglyza without that evidence. AstraZeneca didn’t complete the clinical studies until several years later—after making substantial profits and potentially causing substantial injuries to the public.

Patients have claimed that saxagliptin resulted in the following cardiac issues:

  • Heart failure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Cardiovascular injury
  • Heart-related death

Additional Onglyza lawsuits alleged pancreatic injuries, including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Continue reading

Zantac – the medication often seen on television commercials and long touted as one of the leading over-the-counter remedies for heartburn – has been pulled from all shelves by the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) due to the confirmed presence of a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compound. The nationwide recall will go into effect immediately, and as a result all manufacturing of Zantac will cease.

Because Zantac was so popular and so heavily advertised for so many years, it is possible that millions of Americans were potentially exposed to a carcinogenic compound. Even worse, tests have shown that there could be tremendously high amounts of this cancer-causing compound in each dose of Zantac. If you believe that yourself or a loved one has contracted cancer as a result of repeated use of Zantac, contact an attorney from Altman & Altman LLP right away to discuss possible legal action.

What is dangerous about Zantac?

Zantac is simply a brand name used to market the medication. The active compound in Zantac is ranitidine, which is used to fight acid buildup in the stomach and esophagus – the cause of heartburn. However, recent tests have confirmed that Zantac also contains N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has long been classified as a potential carcinogen in humans by the FDA.

Exposure to NDMA has been linked to various diseases, from multiple types of cancer (including the most potentially deadly forms and less severe forms) to liver failure. Although testing the effects of NDMA on humans has been limited in scope, the FDA and independent studies have long identified NDMA as potentially harmful to humans through observation of its negative effects on lab mice. More pointedly, NDMA is a compound commonly found in industrial grade pesticides and even in high octane fuels.

How much NDMA is in Zantac?

According to Valisure, the Connecticut pharmaceutical company that made the initial discovery of NDMA, there were extremely high levels of the compound in the batches of ranitidine they tested – regardless of the dosage or where the drug was manufactured. They reported that there was as much as 3 million nanograms of NDMA in each Zantac tablet – which is over 31,000 times more than the recommended daily intake of 96 nanograms set by the FDA.

Unfortunately, the FDA did not immediately take heed from Valisure’s testing, and Zantac continued to be manufactured and sold to people across the country. It was only until this week that an independent investigation from the FDA finally convinced them to act.

What is the status of Zantac now? Should I stop taking it?

As of this week, the FDA has officially called for a full recall of Zantac products – meaning that manufacturing and sale of all variants of the drug must come to an end. This adds to a series of voluntary recalls that have occurred over the years from various manufacturers of the drug – as well as retail chains such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, which previously halted sale of Zantac and its generic forms.

This new recall means that anyone who regularly uses Zantac for heartburn relief should instantly stop doing so, as there is good reason to suspect it may negatively impact your health – especially if you rely on it regularly to treat heartburn and indigestion issues. As always, contact your healthcare provider with concerns you have, and with questions about what medication might work in place of Zantac. There are multiple medications, such as Pepcid, Nexium and Prilosec which have not tested positive for the presence of NDMA.

Did drug manufacturers know about this health risk?

There is some evidence to suggest that Sanofi – the manufacturer of Zantac – could have reasonably known about the possibility of Zantac being an unstable drug as far back as 2002, and that such instability could potentially result in the production of NDMA. In fact, the FDA’s most recent findings included the fact that improperly stored Zantac – for example, if it was stored at high temperatures – could especially lead to the production of NDMA.

Prior studies have found that patients taking ranitidine had large increases in the concentration of NDMA in their urine following tests. Others showed that ranitidine is a possible “precursor” to NDMA. This essentially means that the study found ranitidine is a chemical building block to the more harmful NDMA compound.

These findings suggest that there was always a chemical instability in Zantac that could potentially lead it to being dangerous, and if drug manufacturers were aware of this possibility but failed to warn consumers about it, that could mean they are liable for damages that have occurred due to the drug’s widespread use. Continue reading

Altman & Altman LLP is actively reviewing claims regarding cases of nicotine addiction that have occurred due to the widespread use of Juul brand vaporizers. Specifically, we are pursuing claims from individuals who used a Juul vaporizer before they were 18 years of age, and used it prior to November 2018.

Juul vaporizers (also known as vapes and e-cigarettes) have long been marketed as a “safer” alternative to traditional cigarettes. They have utilized the advertising slogan “Make the Switch,” meaning they intend to be a replacement for nicotine-addicted individuals who are either trying to quit nicotine entirely or are looking for a supposedly less harmful way to consume nicotine. With a streamlined, sleek appearance about the size of a standard USB flash drive, and a simple two-piece design with replaceable nicotine-laden oil cartridges, Juuls have become incredibly popular.

Juul may be specifically targeted for children to use

Studies have revealed that Juuls are not only popular with adults. Children under the age of 18 regularly use Juuls in alarming numbers – as data shows that about 3.6 million kids under the age of 18 tried an e-cigarette device at least once in 2018, a 78 percent increase over the prior year.

Combine this knowledge with the fact that Juul pods contain a higher concentration of nicotine than other e-cigarettes, and that children are more susceptible to developing addictions, and what you’re left with is a ripe recipe for children to become nicotine dependent very quickly.

Not only has Juul been criticized for potentially exposing children to a harmful product without doing much to prevent them from accessing it – the company has also come under scrutiny for their development of flavored pods that would also appeal to children; such as mint and berry flavors.

Juul and “popcorn lung”

Juul vaporizers and other electronic cigarette products like them contain a chemical called diacetyl, an additive that supposedly makes the heated vapor less harsh and smoother when inhaled. Diacetyl is also a component added to movie theater popcorn butter to give it that well-known buttery flavor. The chemical is approved by the FDA for consumption as a food product.

However, overexposure to vaporized diacetyl may cause “popcorn lung,” which causes a constriction of the airways within the lungs to the point of total closure – which may lead to further respiratory complications including total lung collapse, a potentially fatal health complication. Continue reading

Johnson & Johnson has recently had to pull over 33,000 bottles of baby powder off the shelves after the Food and Drug Administration discovered evidence of asbestos – which is known to cause cancer – in one of the bottles. It is not the first time Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder has been feared to introduce people to the risk of contracting cancer. If you have reason to believe you or a loved one has been exposed to cancer-causing elements via their baby powder, contact Altman & Altman LLP today.

More lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson contributes to long list

Pharmaceutical titan Johnson & Johnson is known throughout the world for being the corporate owner of widely-used products such as Tylenol and Motrin – in addition to hundreds of other products that span a wide range of industries. However, they may very well be more notorious for their long list of lawsuits that continues to grow with each passing year.

The company – which made nearly $82 billion in profit in 2018 – is embattled with over 100,000 lawsuits against it due to people claiming they have come into harm due to the use of their products. Over 15 percent of those are directly related to lawsuits coming from those who have used their talc-based baby powder products.

Users of their baby powder who have brought suit in the past have made claims that the baby powder contributed to their contracting of various cancers – from talcum powder contributing to ovarian cancer to the same powder causing mesothelioma, a form of respiratory cancer that is traditionally caused by asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that is confirmed to be an aggressive carcinogen.

As a result of the positive test for asbestos within the baby powder – which is manufactured in China – the FDA recommended that all users of Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders should cease using them immediately and indefinitely. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, has denied any wrongdoing and liability for the test, instead shifting an accusatory tone of defensiveness towards the FDA testing process.

This is not uncommon for large companies to do. Even in cases where Johnson & Johnson has been found to be negligent in their contributions to a victim’s pain and suffering, they have been unwilling to accept the verdicts set against them and take responsibility – like what occurred when they were hit with a monumental $8 billion jury verdict against them following a claim that their anti-psychotic drug Risperdal had caused the man taking it to develop female-like breasts. Continue reading

A Philadelphia woman was awarded nearly $28 million for injuries she suffered while taking the anti-coagulant medication, Xarelto. The blood thinner, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG, is linked to serious health risks, including excessive bleeding and death.

Lynn Hartman claims to have been taking Xarelto for more than a year when she was hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding. J&J and Bayer were ordered to pay $1.8 million in actual damages, and another $26 million for punitive damages. More than 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits are still pending against the companies.

J&J and Bayer recently won three Xarelto cases, after juries determined that the companies had provided adequate warnings about the drug’s risk of excessive bleeding. These wins were actually a victory for plaintiffs in other cases, however, including Hartman’s.

“The plaintiffs needed to put a win on the board to keep these other cases alive,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at Virginia’s University of Richmond. “Otherwise, the rest of the cases may have been seen as having little value.” A MA drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Xarelto Lawsuits Up 27 Percent this Year

The pharmaceutical giants say they will appeal the verdict in Hartman’s case, claiming that their product’s labeling “has always warned of bleeding events.” According to J&J, Xarelto lawsuits increased by 27 percent in 2017.

“Bayer stands behind the safety and efficacy of Xarelto and believes there is no basis in fact or law for the verdict, including the punitive award,” said Bayer spokesman Chris Loder, in a recent statement.

According to the FDA, Xarelto has been linked to at least 370 deaths and thousands of serious injuries. Yet the drug, which is Bayer’s number one-selling product, remains on the market. In fact, Xarelto sales generated about $3.2 billion last year. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Why is Xarelto So Dangerous?

Xarelto belongs to a new class of blood thinners that have been hailed as lower-maintenance alternatives to their predecessor Coumadin. All blood thinners carry a risk of excessive bleeding, but Coumadin has an antidote to stop the bleeding. Xarelto, unfortunately, does not.

According to 75-year-old Hartman, she required four blood transfusions to treat the effects of blood loss she experienced while on Xarelto. During her trial, former FDA Chief David Kessler, argued that the drug’s warning labels understate associated bleeding risks, as well as failed to warn physicians that certain patients may have a higher risk of excessive bleeding.

Symptoms of Xarelto Complications

If you are currently taking Xarelto and develop any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Unexpected or uncontrolled bleeding
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black or bright red stool
  • Headaches that don’t go away
  • Dizziness
  • Wounds that don’t heal properly

Continue reading

Have you ever had a surgery to correct a hernia? Chances are, if you had such a surgery in the last ten years you were fitted with some type of hernia mesh to help the repaired hernia heal. Hernia mesh can be made from synthetic materials or animal tissue, and is placed inside the body to support a healing hernia.

Statistically, the use of hernia mesh to help aid in the recovery of hernias does decrease the likelihood of future complications in the area of the hernia, and decreases the risk of needing any follow-up surgeries.

Unfortunately, not all hernia mesh products are equivalent, and some have been outright recalled due to problematic and potentially life-threatening complications that they create. The following hernia mesh products have been officially recalled.

Ethicon – a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson

  • Proceed (FDA approval in 2003, recalled in 2006, 2011 and 2014)
  • Physiomesh (FDA approval in 2010, withdrawn from sales by company in June, 2016)

Atrium Medical Corporation of Maquet Getinge Group

  • C-QUR surgical mesh (gained FDA approval in 2006, recalled in 2013)

Bard Davol, a subsidiary company of C.R. Bard

  • Kugel
  • 3DMax
  • Perfix
  • Sepramesh

Ethicon’s ‘Physiomesh’ product is the most recent large-scale recall of hernia mesh, and occurred in 2016. The mesh is made from a chemical compound called polypropylene, which can be incredibly dangerous should it come into contact with human tissue because of its tendency to “stick” to the tissue; opening up a whole host of potential complications depending on where the mesh is placed within the body.

Physiomesh was coated in multiple other materials to prevent contact between the polypropylene and the inside of the human body, however the decision to pull the product from the market indicates that there were too many people experiencing the complications to continue to push the mesh on the market.

C.R. Bard’s products resulted in three Class 1 recalls (potentially life-threatening) between 2005 and 2007. Complications included fistulas and perforation of bowels.

No matter what the product, there is always a risk that the mesh will not perform its duties entirely correctly and will require a second, or more, surgery to correct the complication. Hernia mesh can also cause a number of other side effects, including:

  • Pain and bleeding
  • Adhesions (scar tissue that sticks together)
  • Seroma (a buildup of fluid at the site of incision)
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections
  • Shrinking/migrating/compromised mesh
  • Bowel and intestinal blockage
  • Autoimmune reactions/mesh rejection
  • Reoccurrence of hernia
  • Fistulas (irregular points of connection between separate organs)
  • Organ tears and perforations

Should any of these complications occur to you or a loved one, you may be entitled to significant compensation for the pain that you’ve endured and the expenses you have incurred as a result of the faulty medical procedure. There are thousands of ongoing hernia mesh lawsuits happening today, and you may be able to recover damages for your own experience.

When you go to the hospital to receive surgery, you should feel comfortable that a procedure will not lead to further complications down the line due to a faulty product, such as some of these hernia mesh products have been revealed to be. Continue reading

What is a hernia?

The use of surgical hernia mesh is the one of the most commonly-utilized medical devices used to repair hernias – which occur when a muscle or organ protrudes through another piece of muscle or connective tissue due to increased amounts of pressure in the area of the body where the hernia occurs.

There are six common forms of hernia, and they can occur throughout different areas of the body; from hernias that erupt through a surgical scar to hernias that occur near the belly button. Hernias can happen to anybody, from those who are chronically obese to Olympic athletes and can occur regardless of age or gender.

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been ordered by a Texas federal jury to pay out over $1 billion in punitive and compensatory damages after a lengthy trial ultimately decided in the favor of six plaintiffs who claimed to have suffered severe consequences after being fitted with J&J’s “Pinnacle” hip implants, which are manufactured and distributed by Depuy Pharmaceuticals.  The Pinnacle hip implants are a type of implant that utilizes metal-on-metal components, meaning the artificial hip ball, socket and shaft pieces are all made of metal; usually a combination of titanium, nickel, cobalt and/or chromium. In many cases before, including about 93,000 different hip implants also distributed by Depuy and J&J, the metal-on-metal implants have been observed to cause serious health consequences for some users.

Why are these hip implants potentially dangerous?

Metal-on-metal hip implants have been observed to corrode over time and use, releasing microscopic pieces of metal into the patient’s blood stream, which can cause a type of blood poisoning known as metallosis.

Signs of metallosis can include:

  • General skin hypersensitivity that results in rashes
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart complications)
  • Sensory changes such as complications with vision or hearing
  • Depression or other unusual mental changes
  • Kidney complications
  • Thyroid issues such as a throbbing, painful neck, weight gain, fatigue or feeling cold constantly

Aside from these symptoms, the implants can degrade to a point where they can actually break, slip or otherwise malfunction, causing potentially horrible consequences. The plaintiffs in this case also specifically cite suffering from bone and tissue death as a result of the implants.

What if I have a metal-on-metal hip implant?

If you or somebody you love has received a metal-on-metal hip implant from any of these companies:

  • Depuy
  • Stryker
  • Smith & Newphew
  • OMNI
  • Biomet

Then do some research into the type of hip implant was given. It may very well be one of the hip implants that has been subsequently recalled, and may explain health problems that have emerged after the hip installation.  In the case of J&J and their most recent legal scandal, they plan to appeal the decision and maintain that they are not liable for the pain and suffering their devices have caused. The jury disagreed, and felt that J&J and Depuy did not do enough to warn patients of any potential risks associated with the hip implants. Although the enormous sum of over $1 billion will likely be reduced by the courts, the message to the huge companies is clear: you are not untouchable.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we feel the same way. No company, regardless of how big or how valuable, is above the law or above the moral standards and ethics that all medical device manufacturers, distributors and parent companies must adhere to. The responsibility to properly protect patients is far too great to accept anything less than perfection.  J&J and Depuy’s lengthy list of lawsuits proves that something is not right with these implants. This case was just one of over 8,000 similar lawsuits surrounding the hip implants, meaning this is not an anomalous problem, but more likely a design flaw which, again, is simply unacceptable. Continue reading

Another jury has concluded that talcum powder does, indeed, cause ovarian cancer. This multimillion-dollar verdict is the third of its kind for Johnson & Johnson this year. Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California, was awarded more than $70 million last week, as a result of her 2012 ovarian cancer diagnosis. According to Giannecchini, she had been using Johnson’s Baby Powder for more than four decades.

Many women have used talc-based products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, for personal hygiene for decades. Talcum powder contains particles of talc, a mineral that can cause health complications when used in the genital area. Talc particles can travel through the fallopian tubes and become embedded in the ovaries. When this happens, the talc particles can cause inflammation, which can result in the development of cancerous cells. All cancer can be deadly, but ovarian cancer has an especially high mortality rate. If you have developed cancer after using talcum powder or baby powder, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

One of the most aggressive forms of cancer, ovarian cancer causes about 14,000 deaths every year. Symptoms are hard to detect, and often don’t appear until the disease has advanced beyond successful treatment. As with most cancers, once ovarian cancer has spread to other organs and tissues, it is extremely difficult to treat.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

As previously mentioned, symptoms are not often immediately apparent. Furthermore, the following symptoms can be related to other, non-life threatening medical conditions. However, if you develop any of the below symptoms, it may be wise to contact your health care provider. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling full even though you haven’t eaten much
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Menstrual problems
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Fatigue

Despite compelling evidence that long-term use of talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, J&J continues to claim that its product is safe and is currently appealing all three rulings. But the manufacturing giant is estimated to face another 2,000 lawsuits from customers who developed ovarian cancer after using its products. Continue reading

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