Articles Posted in Dangerous Drugs

Talcum powder has been used for feminine hygiene, and as a baby care product, for decades. Its name comes from the mineral from which it is derived; talc is composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. Talcum powder is popular for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce friction, which prevents rashes and other types of skin irritation. In addition to being used on its own, talcum powder is also found in many cosmetic products, baby powders, and other consumer goods. Unfortunately, talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer in women, and lawsuits are on the rise. Most disconcerting is the evidence that one of the major manufacturers of talcum powder, Johnson & Johnson, knew about the risks since 1982 or earlier. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

How Could Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

When women use talcum powder in the genital area, it is believed that particles of the mineral talc may travel through the reproductive tract, entering the ovaries. These particles may cause inflammation of the ovarian tissue which may result in the development of cancerous tumors. Multiple studies have shown women that use talcum powder in the genital area are at a much greater risk of developing cancer than those who have not. In fact, the first study revealing this link was published in 1971. Researchers found that talc particles remained “deeply embedded” in ovarian and cervical tumors in women who had used talcum powder in the genital area. This study encouraged more research, which resulted in similar outcomes. A 2003 article published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment reported that talcum powder use increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33%.

In natural form, many talcs contain asbestos, which can cause cancer when inhaled. However, talc products have been asbestos-free for more than four decades. The risk of ovarian cancer is not linked to inhalation, but rather to the potential for talc particles to travel through the vagina, and into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can occur if talcum powder is used in the genital area, applied to sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, or diaphragms. Continue reading

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters were created to treat patients with a high risk of pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved C.R. Bard’s Recovery IVC filter. Many patients use anticoagulants (blood-thinners) to treat their risk of pulmonary embolism, but some patients are unable to take these drugs. The IVC filters were designed to provide a treatment option for these patients. The filter is implanted into the inferior vena cava and prevents embolism by catching blood clots before they can pass into the lungs. Unfortunately, shortly after the Recovery filter’s release, problems started to emerge. Over time, pieces of the filter may begin breaking off, resulting in serious injury and even death. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

Most Common IVC Filter Injuries

Bard IVC filters are linked to multiple injuries and fatalities. Injuries range in severity and cause, but the most common include:

Severe pain

Internal bleeding

Perforations in blood vessels, tissue, and organ

Respiratory problem

Pulmonary embolism

Heart attack

Deep vein thrombosis

Death Continue reading

Hip replacements are one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Degenerative conditions and injuries can result in debilitating pain. Fortunately for thousands of patients, hip replacement surgery provides welcome relief and the ability to resume normal activity. As with all medical technology, the hip replacement industry has evolved over the years in an effort to provide increasingly effective products. In doing so, manufacturers began moving away from plastic and ceramic replacements in favor of all-metal designs, which they claimed were more flexible and durable. Unfortunately, the metal devices have been linked to incapacitating injuries, and the industry is facing lawsuits in the tens of thousands. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.

First Jury Award Over $8.3 Million

The first manufacturer to pull out of the all-metal business is the DePuy division of Johnson & Johnson. However, they are not likely to be the last. According to the New York Times, all other manufacturers are expected to follow as the early failure rates are staggeringly high. Johnson & Johnson alone is facing at least 13,300 lawsuits. In addition, recent awards to victims of the metal replacements have been high, with the first jury award being in excess of $8.3 million. This case was quickly decided in favor of the victim and will likely set the bar for future lawsuits. Although an industry exit is good news for future hip replacement patients, it does little to help the thousands of people already implanted with the metal design.

Is the FDA’s Antiquated Approval Process to Blame?

The FDA’s approval process for metal hip replacements may be partially to blame for the early failure rate and injuries. Hip replacements are not considered ‘essential medical devices’ and are therefore subject to a markedly less stringent approval process. Essential devices, such as artificial hearts for example, require significant tests including human testing. Metal hip replacements went to market without a single human test. Continue reading

The drug Pradaxa was the first in a new class of anticoagulant drugs called thrombin inhibitors. Pradaxa was an immediate hit with atrial fibrillation patients as an alternative to the high-maintenance Warfarin. The industry standard of anticoagulant treatments up until recently, warfarin requires constant blood monitoring to check for hemorrhaging. However, this new class of thrombin inhibitors claimed to have less side-effects and no need for blood monitoring. This claim was met with great enthusiasm by patients and physicians alike, to the tune of $1 billion in annual sales. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, some major details got overlooked. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.

Pradaxa Manufacturer Settles $650 Million Lawsuit

All anticoagulants come with a risk of increased bleeding. It’s what can be done once the hemorrhaging begins that determines the safety of the drug. With Warfarin, despite the inconvenience of constant blood monitoring and the very increased risk of hemorrhaging, there is an approved reversal agent (antidote) if hemorrhaging does occur. Physicians can administer a dose of vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma to quickly halt the bleeding. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists with Pradaxa or any thrombin inhibitor currently on the market. Boehringer Ingelheim’s failure to warn of this very important detail is at the core of many of the 4,000 lawsuits recently settled by the manufacturer for a total of $650 million. The settlement comes out to more than $150,000  per person. Continue reading

The state’s highest court has just upheld the $63 million Massachusetts drug defect ruling against Children’s Motrin and Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. The family of Samantha Reckis was awarded the verdict in Plymouth County in 2013.

They had sued the manufacturer after she became legally blind and sustained toxic epidermal necrolysis from taking the over-the-counter medication. Reckis, now 16, was just 7 when she took the med to combat a fever. J & J had sought to appeal the verdict, saying the award was too high.

The Supreme Judicial Court, however, disagreed with the company. It pointed to the long injuries sustained by Samantha including the loss of 95% of her skin’s top layer, heart failure, liver damage, seizures, stroke, and cranial hemorrhage. Reckis also continues to struggle with other disabilities and will likely continue to endure hospitalizations and other health issues for life, including more pain and suffering.

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The family of Abbie Harper is suing Walgreens and Abbott Laboratories for wrongful death. The 23-year-old law school student had been using the FreeStyle-brand test strips made by Abbott to monitor her diabetes.

The products liability case contends that the strips, along with a blood glucose meter and Omnibod insulin pump, which were made by defendant Insulet, gave Abbott the wrong glucose readouts, causing her to take less insulin than she needed. Abbott died in November 2013.

Four days after her passing, Abbott recalled the test strips, noting in certain instances that the product had provided the wrong low blood glucose findings. The plaintiffs believe that aside from the product defect, there were also issues of compatibility involving certain devices. Their legal team believes that a manufacturing error caused the test strips to become defective.

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A jury says that Johnson & Johnson must pay the family of an autistic boy $2.5 million for failing to warn that its antipsychotic medication, Risperdal, could cause abnormal breast development in males. The plaintiffs claim that Austin Pledger, then 7, took the drug in 2002 and developed size 46 DD breasts. Gynecomastia is the medical term for this condition.

Risperdal’s generic name is risperidone. While there have been numerous Risperdal lawsuits settled, this is the first one involving gynecomastia that accuses J & J of hiding the risks to go to trial. Among those that gave testimony was former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler, who was a paid expert witness for the family of Pledger. He said that J & J knew about the risks but did not disclose the data that demonstrated to what extent young males could experience abnormal breast growth.

Despite the verdict, J & J’s Janssen unit, which marketed Risperdal, maintains that the drug’s FDA-approved label did in fact properly warn of possibly side effects. They also maintain that Pledger was not hurt by taking the drug but instead his quality of life improved “significantly” while on the medication.

A jury has ordered Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to pay $2.3M in compensatory damages and $1.3 million in punitive damages to a man who claims that the diabetes drug caused him to develop bladder cancer. John Kristufek said that the drug maker hid the dangerous risks involved with taking the medication.

Actos is a pill that is designed to regulate blood sugar levels. It is typically prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes.

In his drug defect lawsuit, Kristufek argued that although drug representatives don’t deliver the medication or information to doctors offices and pharmacies, they come up with strategies to get doctors to prescribe Actos as safer than other diabetes medications. The incentive for the salespersons, Kristufek claims, is commissions, bonuses, and other rewards.

With the school year only a few weeks away, we can’t help but think about the myriad of cases on schools and school-aged children that we have defended these 50 years at our family-serving legal office. Being parents, we would like to offer some safety advice, with the hope that this new academic year turns out to be an enjoyable and enriching experience.

Recently Gov. Patrick declared a public health emergency in Massachusetts for the rapidly growing opioid addiction rates. From 2000 to 2012, the number of unintentional opioid overdoses rose by 90%. In the state, a person who consumes opioids is three times more likely to die than a drunk driver. Undoubtedly, this has raised concern among parents about the availability of opioids and other drugs at schools and popular places where children come together.

The law aims to limit access to drugs by minors. According to the Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to sell, consume or possess drugs, drug paraphernalia including tobacco rolling papers or alcohol within 300 feet of schools, whether public or private, up to secondary school. In 2011 Gov. Patrick tried to reduce this space to 100 feet, though thankfully, without success.

Based on the reported cases in Massachusetts, in 2012 marijuana and alcohol were the most popular drugs among teenagers younger than 18, and also the substances for which they most often sought treatment. Most teenagers start using these substances before reaching high school: the mean age of first alcohol use was 13.2 years, while for marijuana, it was 12.8 years.

How does the law limit access and possession of these substances by minors?
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A multi-party lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center for the drug injuries and deaths of people who received contaminated steroid injections is proceeding. Named among them are NECC owners Greg Conigliaro, Lisa Cadden, and Barry Cadden. Products liability lawyers are attempting to add more defendants, including the maintenance company that was tasked with cleaning the facility where the compounding pharmacy was located and a number of pain clinics where the tainted injection was administered.

Hundreds of patients in at last 23 states were exposed to fungal meningitis via the shots, which contained black mold, and over 60 people died from related complications. The defective drug came from NECC, which is a compounding pharmacy in Framingham, Massachusetts that has since been shut down. It also is seeking bankruptcy protection.

In one fungal meningitis lawsuit related to this particular contamination outbreak, one woman isn’t suing NECC but instead is going after its sister companies, which share ownership and other ties with it:

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