Articles Posted in Products Liability

The Maryland Daily Record reports that the Maryland Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to Maryland’s statutory cap on non-economic damages involving a lead paint case in Baltimore City.

I think it is interesting the Maryland high court granted cert in this case. I’m not optimistic. But boy would the landscape flip here if the Maryland Court of Appeals agrees these caps are unjust under Maryland’s Constitution.

Seroquel is the top selling antipsychotic drug in the United States. Seroquel is the eighth best-selling drug in the world, with more than $4 billion in sales last year.

But attorney generals in Pennsylvania, Montana, and Arkansas contend that Seroquel’s rise was the result of an illegal marketing campaign designed to promote the powerful drug for unapproved uses, including to some of our most vulnerable: children and the elderly with dementia. Moreover, Seroquel has been linked with a host of health problems, including diabetes and pancreatitis. As a result, there are over 10,000 plaintiffs in a Seroquel class-action lawsuit.

With all of these Seroquel lawsuits, how has Seroquel stayed on the market? In addition to the obvious – $4 billion a year in annual revenue can buy up a lot of Seroquel-related diabetes and pancreatitis settlements. Dr. Robert Rosenheck, a psychiatry professor at Yale, has the answer: “You had 10 to 15 years of marketing in which the companies controlled the journal publications, controlled the speakers’ bureaus, controlled the dinners, controlled the patient advocacy groups, all of which communicated these drugs were a breakthrough. But there was little independent research.”

The first lawsuit of which I am aware involving Byetta was filed last week in California in San Diego Superior Court. The nature of the allegations are that Amylin and Eli Lilly failed to adequately test Byetta before the drug was approved in 2006 and, more importantly many think, and after Byetta came out on the market and their were numerous reports of pancreatitis. The lawsuit also claims that these companies failed to warn of the risks they knew or should have know about Byetta.

Product liability lawyers have to listen to what their clients want them to do. Personally, in developinglitigation like Byetta, I do not see the value in filing the first lawsuit. These cases evolve and 90% of the time, the science gets better and better because the plaintiffs’ lawyers and their experts get a better and better feel for the drug. The history of successful mass tort cases is frequently the first wave of lawsuits, the defendants get creamed. As time goes on, the Plaintiffs’ lawyers get wiser and the tide turns.

Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported yesterday after the close of business that there were reports of four new deaths in patients taking Byetta.

Last week, the FDA announced that two Byetta patients died of acute pancreatitis. Interestingly, Lilly said the FDA was aware of the additional deaths but did not make the findings public them because they involved a milder form the pancreatitis and the FDA was “concentrating on the more severe forms of the condition….”

Does this logic make sense to anyone but Lily, Amylin, and the FDA? Get the information out there so doctors and patients can make informed choices about Byetta..

Zimmer last month halted sales of its Durom Cup hip implant socket. It has been estimated that at least 5% of the 12,000 patients that have been implanted with the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement in the United States will experience significant problems.

If you are one of the 5% of Zimmer Durom Cup hip implant patients that are experiencing problems with your Zimmer Durom hip cup, call our Zimmer hip implant lawyers at 1-800-553-8082 or click here for a free consultation. Our lawyers are reviewing these Zimmer implant cases throughout the United States.

Journal of the American Medical Association reports on a study suggesting that doctors may want to prescribe stroke victims antidepressants right away. Researchers in Iowa gave low doses of the SSRI antidepressant Lexapro to stroke patients. The patients on the drug were 4.5 times less likely to develop depression than patients given a placebo.

If this study is replicated, the results are astonishing given the rather limited efficacy of SSRIs generally. Similar findings may lead to the use of the much maligned SSRI antidepressants despite the criticism of recent years. Almost a quarter of a million Americans develop depression within two years after having a stroke. As is often the case, depression impacts outcome: stroke patients with depression recover less quickly and are more likely to die.

SSRIs, such as Prozac, Lexapro, Cipralex, Esertia, and Zoloft, have a lot of troubling side effects. While it took almost a decade for the labeling to reflect the risks, SSRIs cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. The New England Journal of Medicine and other medical journals have also reported that some SSRI antidepressants are linked to an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in children whose mothers used SSRIs after the 20th week of gestation. SSRIs have also been linked to heart, cranial, lung and abdominal defects. If all of that is not enough, extreme reactions have also been reported in patients when they stop taking some SSRIs.

This post was originally written in 2008.  We do not know of any active Chantix suicide lawsuits that are pending in 2019.  Ultimately, Pfizer paid almost $300 million to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging adverse neuropsychiatric effects from Chantix.  The average settlement value of the Chantix lawsuits were not high.  But some suicide cases were seven-figure settlements.

In 2016, there was a study done that was published in Lancet that concluded that Chantix did not cause suicidal ideations or actions.  Some defense lawyers have argued this is an example of litigation that should not have settled because the science was unclear.  But others have pushed back, arguing that the Lancet study (called the EAGLES study) was scientifically unsound.

This is a complex issue. I suspect Chantix has saved lives.  I don’t think there was ever a good argument to take the product off the market. (Cf. I may have suggested the possibility below in 2008.)  But if there is a concern about the drug, should the manufacturer provide the facts surrounding that concern so doctors and patients can decide for themselves?

Overlawyered has a blog post today about the reports of a high school pitcher suing his school district because he wore out his arm throwing 140 pitches in a single game. Here is the gist of the story from the Seattle Times: Seven years ago, Plaintiff was pitching against a rival school. He had no plans to take himself out of the game. In the eighth inning his mother, assuming you believe her story, told coach, “He’s at 117 pitches. He’s done.” (How many mothers out there are keeping exact pitch counts?) You know the rest of the story. The Plaintiff hurts his arm. He thinks he was the next coming of Roger Clemens… better make that Greg Maddux… and files suit claiming the coach should have pulled him out of the game.

Overlawyered and the Maryland Lawyer Blog agree that the possibility of a lawsuit causes people to act differently than they otherwise would. Where we disagree is whether, on balance, this is a good thing for society. For example, football coaches now know that depriving kids of water during practice is a bad thing and their doing so may expose the school to liability. In this area I think coaches already have proper incentive to do the right thing and this will only serve to exaggerate the risk of a “pitch count” lawsuit. Even if this is what I believe is the first lawsuit of its kind in this country. Obviously every baseball coach around the country is going to be talking about this and many are going to become worried about pitch counts.

Awareness of valid lawsuits properly encourages people (including doctors) to proceed with caution and to consider the risks that may cause harm. Frivolous lawsuits like this one have the opposite effect and are going to have some coaches – a small minority but still some – overreacting and limiting kids to ridiculously low pitch counts. But just as free speech requires us to tolerate hate speech, the search for justice requires us to tolerate some level of frivolous lawsuits. Whatever inertia this country has towards tort reform, it comes in no small measure from mainstream media and Internet reports (many of which are simply false) of ridiculous lawsuits.

The FDA yesterday raised its current count of estimated heparin related deaths from 19 to 62. The FDA qualified its finding by pointing out that reports of allergic reactions or low blood pressure after the use of heparin do not necessarily mean heparin was a contributing cause to the death. I’m sure this is true. But the FDA puts this qualification in some context by noting that there were only three heparin allergic reaction deaths reported in 2006.

As I wrote earlier today, many people taking heparin have other health risks, but the number of heparin death cases calls we are receiving leads me to believe that, tragically, 62 reported deaths may be just the tip of the iceberg. (Hopefully, I’m wrong.)

Our Baxter heparin recall lawyers are accepting defective heparin cases throughout the country. Our law firm is handling only very serious injury and death cases. If you want to discuss your heparin case with one of our heparin contamination recall lawyers, call us for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free Internet consultation.

The FDA announced Wednesday that it had identified the contaminant in Baxter heparin that has been linked to at least 21 deaths. The contaminant is a chemically altered form of the dietary supplement chondroitin sulfate, designed to mimic the active ingredient in heparin.

Our Baxter heparin lawyers are reviewing both individual and class action defective heparin recall cases throughout the country with an eye toward potential lawsuits related to the recall. If you want to discuss your heparin case with one of our Baxter heparin recall lawyers, call us for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free online consultation.