Manufacturer Hid Nexium Kidney Risks to Further Profits

By Emily Cox
Nexium Kidney injury
Flickr/Mike Mozart

A new lawsuit alleges that the drug manufacturer, AstraZenca, concealed considerable Nexium kidney injury risks to further its own financial agenda while putting patients at considerable risk to the detriment of many of them.

Clarice Armstrong filed the complaint September 22 in the District of New Jersey. Armstrong alleges that AstraZenca actively hid significant Nexium kidney risks from consumers and the medical community. Consequently, neither she nor her physician knew that the prescription was putting her life at serious risk. Due to AstraZenca’s greed and negligence, Armstrong’s life will never be the same.

“As a direct result of ingesting PPIs, Plaintiff has been permanently and severely injured, having suffered serious consequences from PPI use,” the complaint states.  “Plaintiff requires and will in the future require ongoing medical care and treatment.”

“Plaintiff, as a direct and proximate result of PPI use, suffered severe mental and physical pain and suffering and has and will sustain permanent injuries and emotional distress, along with economic loss due to medical expenses, and living related expenses due to her new lifestyle,” the lawsuit continues.

Armstrong contends that the drug maker knew about the Nexium kidney injury and end stage renal failure risks. However, the company “deliberately failed to remedy known defects” and warn the public in order to maximize profits despite the “extreme risk of injury.” The claim points to several proton pump inhibitor (PPI) studies that show AstraZenca knowingly exposed people to serious danger to line its already fat pockets.

In October 1992, three years after initial FDA PPI approval, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center researches published the first article connecting PPI use with kidney injuries in The American Journal of Medicine. Decades of reports from national adverse drug registries and other studies affirming this association make this connection undeniable.

Nexium Kidney Injury Studies

Nexium (esomeprazole) is among the most popular PPIs on the market. Millions of Americans take the medication to treat heartburn and acid reflux. However, other blockbuster PPIs include Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, and Dexilant among countless other seemingly benign medications for mild conditions. However, studies have found these drugs carry far more serious risks than the conditions they treat.

In April 2015, CMAJ Open published an independent study. Study researchers found that PPI users were three times more likely to develop acute interstitial nephritis (AIN). AIN is kidney inflammation that can result in serious complications. Researchers also found that users were 2.5 times more likely to suffer acute kidney injury. This involves the abrupt loss of kidney function.

In February 2016, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that found that PPIs carried a substantial risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The study indicated that PPI users may be 50 percent more likely to develop the condition than non-users.

In April 2016, Department of Veterans Affairs researchers found that PPI users could be 96 percent more likely to develop renal failure and 28 percent more likely to develop CKD after five years of use.

The PPI Empire

AstraZenca and other PPI manufacturers promote their medications as safe and effective with few serious side effects. Consequently, many people take the drugs long-term, using them for years without attempting to reduce reliance… or dosage, making them exceptionally valuable to the market’s bottom line. PPI makers may have disregarded their core customers’ health and lives. But, they have worked very hard to keep them loyal by actively hiding risks.

To be sure, PPI manufacturers could give billions of reasons for concealing the life-threatening risks lurking behind their drugs. PPIs are one of the most commercially successful groups of medications in the U.S. According to Armstrong’s lawsuit, between 2008 and 2013, prescription PPIs had sales of over $50 billion dollars. And, the weight of these profits has crushed the lives of countless people.

Armstrong joins a growing number of people trying to take PPI manufacturers to task over their unbridled greed. In August, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all Nexium kidney injury lawsuits along with similar PPI lawsuits in New Jersey federal court for pretrial proceedings. Hopefully, if enough individuals stand against these companies, the PPI empire will start protecting its most important denizens – its consumers – instead of its profits.

 

7th Vaginal Mesh Trial Hits Philly in November

By Emily Cox
Vaginal Mesh Trial
Flickr/Michael Coghlan

The seventh vaginal mesh trial over irreparable harm caused by the dangerous polypropylene devices used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) will commence November 6 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The vaginal mesh trial will feature a case brought by Patricia Blockus and her husband, Eugene Blockus. In terms of vaginal mesh products, Blockus has run the gauntlet. As always, America’s most popularly named mesh defendants appear on the docket. However, Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon unit are joined by a strong supporting roster of pelvic mesh heavy hitters. The docket also names C.R. Bard, American Medical System (AMS), Boston Scientific, Sofradim, Secant Medical, and Prodesco among others as defendants.

According to the claim, surgeons initially implanted Blockus with J&J and Ethicon’s notoriously defective Gynecare Prolift device in March 2007. Unfortunately, the device failed in little more than a year. Consequently, Bockus went under the knife again in July 2008 to revise and/or remove the Prolift device and repair damage from the dangerous device. Surgeons supplemented the Prolift device with a  PelviSoft Acellular Collagen Biomesh. The Frankenstein-like mesh mash-up fared better than Ethicon device on its own. However, it was also doomed for failure, as well. In March 2011, Blockus underwent another revision surgery to repair and revise the failed mesh products. Despite extensive medical intervention and expenses, Blockus continues to experience constant significant pain that may never go away.

Previous Phildelphia Vaginal Mesh Trial Verdicts

Earlier this month saw the largest pelvic mesh verdict to come out of the mass tort program to date. A Philadelphia jury awarded 51-year-old Ella Ebaugh more than $57 million dollars for egregious injuries caused by J&J and Ethicon’s TVT and TVT-Secur devices. Despite a series of surgical interventions to retrieve mesh that had eroded into her urethra and being cut open “hip to hip,” doctors were unable to repair the extensive damage. While no amount of money can repair Ebaugh’s extensive scarring, intrinsic sphincter deficiency, chronic urinary tract infections, chronic pelvic pain, and severe pain during sex, hopefully the verdict does its part in sending  a message to these companies that they can’t just play around with women’s lives to turn a profit.

Blockus will be the seventh vaginal mesh trial to pass through Philadelphia’s mass tort program. Overwhelmingly, juries have sided with the injured plaintiffs with verdicts generally climbing with every plaintiff victory for more than $100 million in cumulative damages. Juries only found for mesh defendants in one of the previous six trials. However, a judge recently called J&J’s sole victory into question. He found that the jury’s ruling was inconsistent with the evidence and its very own conclusions. Therefore, pending J&J’s appeal to the Supreme Court, there may be a damages hearing to determine the extent of the mesh manufacturers’ liability.

The first Philadelphia vaginal mesh trial awarded $12.5 million to the plaintiff in December 2015. The second case yielded $13.5 million, followed by $20 million in the third. Juries awarded a fourth woman $2.1 million in May.

 

6th Missouri Talcum Powder Trial Set for October 16

By Emily Cox
Talcum Powder Trial
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Monday’s hearing in the 22nd Circuit Court for St. Louis determined that Johnson & Johnson will soon have to head back to the battlefield where it has suffered heavy losses over allegedly knowing and concealing that its talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer. The Court set the new talcum powder trial for October 16.

The talcum powder trial centers around the death of Michael Blaes’ spouse who passed away from ovarian cancer. Blaes filed the wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that her death was directly related to her use of J&J’s talcum powder products. He alleges they were a daily part of her feminine hygiene routine for decades until her diagnosis.

This isn’t Blaes’ first time to go head-to-head with the healthcare conglomerate over his wife’s death. He was one of three plaintiffs who went to trial in July to take J&J to task for putting profits before human life. However, the presiding judge declared a mistrial a mere five days into testimony in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark jurisdiction decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California. The Court held that state courts lack jurisdiction over nonresidents unless plaintiffs’ injuries could be substantially tied to the state.

Blaes was the only Missouri resident of the three plaintiffs in the Missouri trial. J&J was applying the precedent scarcely before the opinion was published. The judge declared a mistrial in the talcum powder trial the very same day the high court made its ruling. During Monday’s hearing, the Court decided Blaes alone would proceed to trial October 16.

Behind the 6th Talcum Powder Trial

J&J is facing almost 5,000 ovarian cancer lawsuits over the use of its talcum powder products. These individuals allege that J&J knew about the cancer risks but did not warn consumers, choosing to protect the wholesome image of its flagship brands rather than human lives. Studies dating back to the 1970’s indicate that regular, long-term use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene may increase ovarian cancer risks. J&J’s internal documents clearly show that company executives knew of this research and even agreed with it. One such memo even likened the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene to smoking cigarettes. Furthermore, J&J actively fought to keep warning labels off talcum powder products by forming an action committee dedicated to that very purpose to the detriment of thousands of women’s lives.

In the previous five Missouri talcum powder trials, four juries returned with verdicts anywhere from $55 million to $100 million. Only one of these juries has found for J&J.

This past month saw the first California talcum powder trial. The jury awarded a staggering $417 million to a woman with terminal ovarian cancer. Much of the evidence was analogous to Missouri’s trials with one small addition – some of J&J’s competitors are now including ovarian cancer warning labels on their talcum powder products. Of course, J&J still asserts that their talcum powder products carry no such risks.

 

4th Metal Hip Implant Bellwether Trial Hits the Ground Running

By Emily Cox

DePuy Pinnacle Metal Hip Implant Defective Hip

The fourth bellwether trial got underway Wednesday in the ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) over Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit marketing a patently dangerous metal hip implant while allegedly knowing about its defects to protect their mutual bottom lines.

The six New York plaintiffs and four of their spouses claim that the companies designed the Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants line based on flawed research and were manufactured with “shoddy equipment.” Furthermore, they allege that J&J and DePuy not only failed to adequately warn the public about important safety issues. The companies also massively overstated the product’s success to further drive profits, exposing even more individuals to harm. Consequently, the plaintiffs are suing for negligence, strict liability, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent business acts and practices, and breach of express and implied warranty. They are seeking punitive damages. The trial should last up to eight weeks.

Metal Hip Implant Trial Plaintiff Opening Statements

In opening statements, a plaintiff attorney compared the trial process to a home inspection. He promised jurors he would dig beneath the surface of “fresh paint and new furniture.”

Underlying the Pinnacle metal hip implant’s many failings, there is a gross degradation in the companies behind it. He said that the manufacturers started with a bad foundation by choosing metal-on-metal hip implants besides decades of problems. From this crumbling foundation, J&J and DePuy then built up their product on shoddy equipment, making cost-saving rather than life-saving choices. Unsurprisingly, these choices led to the Pinnacle metal hip’s high failure rates, necessitating additional revision surgeries in countless innocent patients.

Opening statements also promised smoking gun emails and marketing materials. They also pointed to the companies’ reliance on a profoundly flawed study in developing the defective metal hip. According to plaintiff attorneys, J&J and DePuy “seduced” hip surgeons into using metal-on-metal hip replacements with lies that made the Pinnacle hip seem better and more reliable than other safer options. Plaintiffs allege that the companies didn’t warn patients or the medical community about the inherent risks of internal metal-on-metal friction. Among other things, this can lead to corrosion and necessary follow-up surgeries. Furthermore, this friction releases heavy metal particles into the body, leading to a litany of serious complications. These include metallosis, pseudotumors, systemic toxic reactions, and other devastation consequences.

Metal Hip Implant Defense Opening Marketing Ad

J&J and DePuy evidently decided that opening statements would be a great marketing platform. Despite 9,000 lawsuits against the companies to the contrary and documented high failure rates, J&J and DePuy defended their metal hip, calling it “the best or one of the best artificial hips ever developed.”

The strange commercial spot continued as the companies assured the jury that Pinnacle was “the most sought after, successful in hip replacement that exists today.”

Metal Hip Implant Bellwether Trials

The first bellwether trial involved a single Montana plaintiff and resulted in a defense win. However, both the second and third trials ended in decisive victories for the plaintiffs. In the second trial, the jury awarded five Texas plaintiffs about $498 million. But that verdict was reduced to about $150 million. In the third, the jury returned with more than a $1 billion verdict for the six California plaintiffs. The courts later reduced this verdict to about $543 million.

J&J has alleged that pretrial and trial rulings heavily favored the plaintiffs and biased the defense in the second and third trials. Consequently, the company is pursuing appeals on these verdicts.

 

 

 

 

 

Essure Coils Retreat World Market to Make Last Stand in U.S.

By Emily Cox
Essure Coils
Flickr/From Sovereign to Serf – Roger Sayles

As awareness about the severe and debilitating risks associated with Essure has swept the globe, Bayer has removed its controversial permanent birth control device from the world market at large but continues to market Essure coils to American women.

The market withdrawal comes on the heels of a mass movement in the U.S. to alert women about the lives the device has harmed and even ruined from complications such as severe pain, ectopic pregnancy, infection, allergic reactions, coil migration, organ perforation, unintended pregnancy, and even death.

Essure is a medical device intended to provide permanent birth control. Its coils, once inside the fallopian tubes, create a scar tissue barrier, preventing pregnancy. However, thousands of women have come forward to say that the device caused egregious harm.

Bayer announced the withdrawal September 18 in French. The press release indicates that the decision to withdraw Essure coils outside the U.S. was based purely on “commercial reasons.” The manufacturer continues to deny that the decision had anything to do with the rising concerns over the birth control implant’s safety. Bayer indicates that it will continue to market the Essure coils to American women, claiming that the FDA’s recent evaluation demonstrates a “favorable risk-benefit” profile.

Essure Coils Regulatory Actions

After receiving 10,000 Essure coils adverse event and injury reports between November 2002 and December 2015, the FDA convened a series of hearings to review testimony from injured women and medical experts. In November 2016, following these hearings, the FDA decided not to recall Essure coils in the U.S. However, the FDA did mandate Essure coils carry a black box warning. This is the strongest warning that the FDA can require a medical device to have. The agency also now requires doctors to provide a patient checklist to women who are considering Essure. This checklist ensures that they are aware of the substantial risks surrounding the procedure.

In August, Europe withdrew the device from its market amidst safety concerns. Several countries across Europe have recalled Essure coils outright. In late August, Australia banned the device, as well.

Bayer currently faces more than 3,700 lawsuits in the U.S., filed by women who suffered from Essure-related injuries. These claims allege that Bayer concealed the risks associated with the device while promoting it as a safe and effective form of birth control in order to protect its bottom line.

Bayer estimates that 750,000 women have received the birth control implant with 70 percent of those in the U.S. However, this number is likely much higher. Conceptus projected the same figure in 2013 when Bayer acquired the company. Consequently, experts expect thousands of additional women to come forward to take Bayer to task for its greed and negligence.

Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Permanently Disables Man Weeks After Placement

By Emily Cox
Physiomesh Hernia Mesh
Flickr/Steve Johnson

According to a new lawsuit, Physiomesh hernia mesh permanently destroyed a man’s life, work, and body within weeks of being placed in his body.

Michael Rivet filed the complaint this past week directly into the ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Georgia. Rivet claims that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon’s Physiomesh hernia mesh caused almost immediate irreparable harm.

According to the lawsuit, Rivet received the Physiomesh hernia mesh in early September 2015. By the month’s end, he already required further surgery to repair the mesh’s extensive damage. Surgeons discovered a seroma and unincorporated, infected Physiomesh. Consequently, they had to remove the entire Physiomesh hernia mesh. Rivet also had to undergo abdominal wall drainage and the placement of an abdominal wound VAC to treat his serious injuries. In October 2015, Rivet had to undergo his third surgery in just one month due to the hernia mesh’s failure. Furthermore, he continues to require revision surgeries to address the mesh’s damage and has undergone several since October 2015.

Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Design Defects

Due to the Physiomesh hernia mesh’s design defects, Rivet has suffered severe abdominal pain and been unable to work since the original implant surgery. According to the claim, he also has permanent and severe scarring and disfigurement.

Physiomesh’s design is unique from any other mesh product in the world. It also has a higher profit margin than any other mesh product in the world. Physiomesh hernia mesh includes a multilayer coating that prevents incorporation into the body. This leads to a whole host of problems, not the least of which is additional invasive surgery. It also provides a breeding ground for bacteria that the body’s immune response cannot eliminate. Inevitable degradation of the multilayer coating exposes the plastic mesh to nearby tissue and organs. It can become adhered to these organs and cause significant damage.

Despite substantially high adverse reaction and injury reports, including death, J&J and Ethicon continued to exploit injured individuals to protect their bottom line. Rather than issuing a recall, they quietly removed the product from the worldwide market in 2016, making out like thieves in the night, taking the hard-earned money and lives of those they had hurt with them.

Rivet joins more than a hundred injured individuals with cases pending in the current MDL. On June 2, 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the Physiomesh hernia mesh litigation in Atlanta, Georgia. While Rivet filed directly into the MDL, more cases are being transferred from other courts by the day. The MDL serves judicial efficiency by eliminating duplicative discovery and conflicting rulings during early trial phases in these types of large litigations. Given manufacturers monumentally successful marketing efforts, Physiomesh MDL cases could eventually number in the thousands.

 

J&J Goes on the Offensive Against Recent $417M Talc Verdict

By Emily Cox
Talc Verdict Appeal
The gloves are off as J&J takes on largest talc verdict ever (Generation Bass/Flickr)

Johnson & Johnson has taken steps to eradicate a recent landmark $417 million talc verdict over their flagship Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products allegedly causing ovarian cancer, citing that the “passion and prejudice” of the jurors had an undue impact on the ruling.

The global healthcare giant filed a motion for a new trial September 15. J&J listed “jury misconduct” and “irregularities in the proceedings” among its reasons why the Los Angeles court should overturn the verdict. According to the motion, alleged juror misconduct in the deliberations room necessitate a new trial.

“The jury’s misconduct confirms the need for a new trial on all issues,” the motion reads. “It shows that passion and prejudice tainted the verdict.”

The foreman’s declaration indicates that, after two days of deliberations, “passions were running high.”

One juror even began writing a letter to the judge to excuse her from the remaining proceedings. Another juror claimed that they were left with no choice but to reach a verdict. When the jury reached its 9-3 verdict for the plaintiff, the three holdouts were left out of damages discussions. The conglomerate is asserting that this is in direct violation of the jury’s instructions and the company’s due process rights. However, one juror argued those those who favored the defense couldn’t reach a fair plaintiff verdict and appropriate punitive damages.

J&J Claims Talc Verdict Size Exessive

J&J is also arguing that the talc verdict, including $347 million in punitive damages was excessive. The company also blamed plaintiffs’ attorneys’ trial statements, as well as improper evidence and expert testimony for the massive award. These elements overwhelmingly indicated that J&J went a long way to protect its flagship products at the cost of human life.

“The size of the verdict, contrasted with the serious deficiencies in the evidence offered at trial, raise a broader concern about runaway juries imposing staggering liability based on speculative science—a concern that is amplified by the fact that this is only one of more than a thousand talc-related cases pending nationwide,” attorneys for the company wrote.

“The verdict is seriously flawed in so many respects that it cries out for this court’s intervention.”

However, previously plaintiffs’ attorneys’ have credited the jury’s punitive damages award to the disclosure of internal documents, dating back 30 years, showing that J&J knew its talc products had health risks. One of these memos from a company medical consultant likened ignoring the ovarian cancer risks from feminine hygiene talc use to denying a connection between smoking cigarettes and cancer.

Along with its motion for a new trial, J&J filed an accompanying motion for judgement notwithstanding the verdict. Furthermore, the company demanded that the court must rule on both motions at the same time. The additional motion indicates that there was not enough evidence to prove that Eva Echeverria’s talc use caused her ovarian cancer diagnosis. J&J also asserts that there was insufficient evidence to indicate that it did not warn her about known risks or that there was any support malice on the part of its executives.

Previous Talc Verdicts

The August 21 talc verdict is only the latest to come out of the massive talcum powder litigation. The litigation currently involves thousands of women, asserting that J&J held corporate image over human life. Most of these cases are in Missouri, California, and New Jersey. Previous talc verdicts, all in Missouri, indicate that the courts and juries overwhelmingly find for the plaintiffs in these cases. Previous talc verdicts totaled $300 million in awards. Prior to the California talc verdict, the highest of these was $110 million. This was the first talcum powder trial to go before a jury in California. But, given talc plaintiffs’ overwhelming momentum in this litigation, it will, by no means, be the last.

Mesh Failure Leads to One Meshed-Up Situation

By Emily Cox
hernia mesh failure
That should hold ‘er in. If not, we’ll just add more – Sage advice for hernia repair. (Flickr/Jon Nicholls)

What to do when hernia mesh failure causes irreparable harm, leaving synthetic fragments of the mesh in surrounding tissues – Slap some more of that plastic in there and hope for the best, of course. At least that’s what doctors decided to do to address significant Physiomesh failures. They simply implanted a new defective mesh that continues to plague an Arkansas woman to this day.

According to a new lawsuit, Jo Ann Lax had the misfortune to not only receive Ethicon’s notoriously defective Physiomesh. But, when she experienced the increasingly common mesh failure associated with the product, doctors implanted her with Covidien Symbotex hernia mesh. Symbotex is a relatively new entry into the field of dangerous synthetic surgical mesh products. Consequently, reports of dangerous complications have only recently begun accumulating in significant numbers. However, it appears that it may be just as dangerous as Physiomesh, which has damaged countless lives beyond repair.

Lax filed the complaint this past week in New Jersey Superior Court. She indicates that Johnson & Johnson, its Ethicon unity, and Covidien knowingly sold dangerously defective hernia mesh products. As a result, she continues to suffer lifelong injuries that she will never be able to leave behind even if she ever manages to get the Symbotex mesh removed.

Hernia Mesh Failure Two-Fold

Introducing to the ring, the ultimate tag team – Physiomesh and Symbotex – guaranteed to put patients down for the count.

If these products had human counterparts, then they would probably be a WWE tag team…or at least should be. Alone, these products can inflict impressive damage on the human body. Together, the damage can be staggering.

In October 2014, seeking relief from an umbilical hernia, Lax unwittingly signed up for a medical nightmare when she agreed to receiving Physiomesh to repair her hernia. The mesh didn’t even last a year. By early 2015, Lax was already experiencing the crippling effects of mesh failure.

In May 2015, she underwent surgery again to remove the failed mesh from her body after only seven months. There is little doubt that there wasn’t anything “mere” about those seven months for Lax. The mesh had disconnected and torn from her body, leaving plastic mesh fragments in the surrounding tissue. Upon removing the toxic plastic remains of the Physiomesh from her body, surgeons elected to do the only logical thing – Implant more plastic to replace it!

In terms of dramatic results, Lax’s doctors certainly succeeded in spades but probably at the opposite end of the spectrum they were shooting for.  Unless, of course, continual abdominal pain and sores, accompanied by blisters and stinging sensations were among her treatment goals. Not to mention, the loss of her belly button, which is just the icing on this meshed-up cake. Despite the Covidien Symbotex Mesh failure, it remains inside Lax to this day, wreaking unimaginable havoc sight unseen.

A growing number of individuals echo Lax’s experiences with similar hernia mesh products. Increasingly, these individuals are taking various manufacturers to task for serious injuries. Manufacturers currently facing these substantial product liability claims include Ethicon, Covidien, C.R. Bard, and Atrium Medical.

 

Injured Patients Urged to Find Legal Representation Before $300M Benicar Settlement Deadline

By Emily Cox
Benicar Settlement Deadline
Flickr/Karoly Czifra

The door is quickly slamming shut on high blood pressure patients who suffered serious gastrointestinal injuries and indignities to participate in a recent Benicar settlement.

Benicar drug manufacturers and marketers have agreed to pay $300 million to settle the current multidistrict litigation (MDL). This substantial settlement doesn’t only apply to plaintiffs already in the MDL New claimants can still receive compensation in this settlement now…but the Benicar settlement deadline is fast approaching. In less than two weeks, this window will close, leaving injured individuals without any recourse for a very long time. The Benicar settlement deadline is August 23. All individuals who retain counsel after this will likely have to wait years to receive any resolution for their grievous injuries.

After spending the better half of 2017 trying to postpone and prevent critical scientific evidence from coming before the court, Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories have finally come to heel. Fortunately, there was a concession to unfiled claims. However, the Benicar deadline for filing a settlement claim is unsettling close.

Benicar Wrecked Havoc on Thousands

Overwhelmingly, patient reports indicate that olmesartan, which is in Azor, Tribenzor, and Benicar HCT, causes sprue-like enteropathy. The hallmarks of this chronic condition are nausea, chronic diarrhea, dehydration, and malnutrition. Despite FDA intervention to disclose gastrointestinal risks and the substantial settlement agreement, these drug makers and marketers continue to allege that their hypertension medication is perfectly safe.

Back in 2013, the FDA mandated new Benicar warning labels once the gastrointestinal risks became irrefutable. However, these warning came much too late for many Benicar patients. According to court documents, 1.9 million patients received a Benicar prescription in 2012 alone.

Benicar patients suffered up to 20 diarrhea attacks per day, leading to malnutrition and extreme weight loss. There are still others that suffered malnutrition complications like cataracts, infections, and even death.

Reports indicate that the manufacturers and marketers were fully aware of these risks. However, they hid them from the medical community and patients to protect their mutual financial interests. These companies were willing to sacrifice countless people to protect their bottom line.

Why Plaintiffs Need to Beat the Benicar Settlement Deadline

Plaintiffs need to retain representation in the litigation before August 23. After the Benicar settlement deadline, injured hypertension patients could wait for years to see any resolution. The current settlement was years and thousands of claims in the making. It will likely take a similar show of force to produce another settlement agreement. Nationwide lawyers are urging Benicar victims to take their rightful place in claiming retribution for the harm the drug manufacturers have caused. Because it will be a long while before these corrupt companies extend such offers again.

Despite thousands of reports of serious Benicar gastrointestinal issues, FDA concerns, and thousands of lawsuits, these companies indicate that they will continue to sell Benicar, endangering patients and profiting off their suffering. Consequently, there’s no doubt that Daiichi and Forest will end up in this position again, but it will take years for another litigation to amass the strength to force a settlement again.

 

 

Opioid Epidemic is Officially a National Emergency

By Emily Cox
opioid epidemic national emergency
Flickr/Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Thursday, thrusting the weight of the White House into the battle against the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the United States with increasing ferocity.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency. It’s a national emergency,” Trump said.  “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

“It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had… This is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest,” he continued.

This is the first time that a long-term public health crisis has been officially designated as a national emergency. Consequently, it’s not entirely clear how this designation will play out. However, experts say that the national emergency declaration will allow the administration to allocate essential funds to expand treatment facilities and supply police officers with anti-overdose medication. The designation will also allow the executive branch to waive certain federal rules, including Medicaid restrictions on where recipients can receive addiction treatment. Currently, the federal aid program offers few options for those suffering from addiction. The administration has also expressed interest in reviewing medical privacy regulations to let addicts’ families know about overdose treatment.

The declaration comes on the heels of the White House opioid commission’s impassioned recommendation to declare a national public health emergency to provide immediate aid in battling the deadly epidemic.

“Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it,” the commission, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said in its interim report.  “The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency.”

Opioid Epidemic Blazes Out-of-Control

In its report, the opioid epidemic commission indicated that there are 142 opioid deaths every day across the country. Consequently, opioids are claiming as many lives as September 11th every three weeks. Every three days, they are killing the equivalent of a full jetliner crash.

As shocking as this statistic is, the report is actually a significant understatement. The commission based its estimate on the number of overdoses in 2015. However, new federal data for the first nine months of 2016 shows that the death toll jumped significantly from 2015’s numbers. There could be almost 10,000 more deaths in 2016 than 2015. The 20 percent increase is a clear indication that, despite growing efforts, the epidemic continues to blaze unfettered, consuming all in its path. Furthermore, even these numbers don’t account for the totality of the epidemic’s devastation. These are only overdose deaths.

The American Journal of Public Health published a study this past month indicating that the number of drivers killed in car accidents who tested positive for opioids had increased 700 percent from 1995 to 2015.

In 1995, only one percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for these drugs. By 2015, this number had risen to seven percent. Given that one out of three Americans took prescription opioids in 2015, this isn’t entirely surprising. If this number remained constant for 2016, this indicates that as many as 3,000 fatally injured drivers were under the influence of opioids.

There’s no question that there is no quick fix to extinguish the devastating epidemic. However, declaring a national emergency makes the opioid epidemic the government’s top priority. The designation will infuse desperately needed funds into hard-hit areas and bolster resources for the long battle ahead.

 

 

 

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