Actemra is a drug used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Approved by the FDA in 2010, the drug has been a subject of numerous controversies and subsequent lawsuits. Studies as early as 2009 showed a high rate of death among patients taking Actemra, yet the drug was approved, and has been marketed to many of the 1.5 million people living with RA.
Actemra was marketed as being safer than competing drugs, promising less side effects and risks. In 2017, an investigation found that was not the case, but in fact, Actemra had higher risks of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. In fact, the investigation found that 1,128 patients taking Actemra had died due to cardiovascular or pulmonary causes.
Patients largely expressed that they felt they had been deceived by the manufacturer, Roche. Patients and advocates allege that Roche knew about the risks and failed to warn consumers about them. Numerous legal sources and media outlets are investigating and considering lawsuits.
Belviq is a drug developed to aid in weight management. It was designed for adults who suffer from obesity or other weight-related conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol. In February 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall of Belviq. According to the FDA, Belviq increases the risk of cancer among patients, especially those who take it for a long period of time. Clinical studies led the FDA to determine that the risks outweigh the benefits.
Since approval in 2012, several studies have shown that Belviq users are more likely to develop more types of cancers than patients taking a placebo. Since 2018, several lawsuits have been filed in relation to patients developing:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
People who took Belviq for at least six months and have been diagnosed with one of these cancers should contact Drug and Device Watch to find out if they qualify to file a lawsuit.
Elmiron is a drug approved to treat interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome. Between 1997 and 2019, at least 100 patients have reported developing a rare but serious eye condition called retinal maculopathy. All of these patients had taken Elmiron. In 2018 and 2019, scientists suggested a link between Elmiron and the development of this unusual eye disorder.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals over their failure to warn patients about the risk of eye injury. The Elmiron label does not contain a warning about possible eye injury. Patients feel that they were misled about the risks of taking the drug.
Patients who took Elmiron for at least two years and have developed maculopathy may qualify to participate in a lawsuit.
Essure is a permanent non-surgical form of birth control. It is a small device inserted through the vagina into the fallopian tubes. The metal coils cause inflammation to build up inside the fallopian tubes, which blocks sperm and thus, prevents pregnancy.
Unfortunately, thousands of women have experienced adverse events while using Essure. Essure lawsuits claim that the device design is defective. The device can fracture or migrate to other parts of the body causing injuries. More than 16,000 lawsuits have been filed by women who have suffered:
- Abdominal damage
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Perforated uterus
- Punctured fallopian tubes
Many women have had to undergo a hysterectomy due to the damage done by the device. Lawsuits claim that had women known about these risks, they would have chosen a different method of birth control.
Ocaliva is a medication used to treat primary biliary cholangitis, which is a rare liver disease. Ocaliva prevents bile from building up and impairing liver function.
After numerous reports of liver injuries, the FDA instructed Intercept Pharmaceuticals to apply a black box warning to the drug’s label. Sadly, it was too late for 19 patients who died from severe liver injuries after beginning Ocaliva.
Patients claim that, prior to the FDA warning, Intercept did not warn patients about a risk of liver injuries.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs used to reduce acid levels in the stomach and stop heartburn. Some of the common brands/names of PPI drugs include:
Unfortunately, many patients taking PPIs have developed serious kidney injuries, including kidney disease and kidney failure.
More than 15,000 lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of the products listed above, AstraZeneca. These lawsuits claim that AstraZeneca did not adequate warn patients about the risk of liver damage, even when the manufacturer became aware of the risks. In fact, lawsuits suggest that AstraZeneca knew about the risks 10 years before the public was made aware.
The number of lawsuits filed makes this the second-largest mass litigation in the U.S.
Talcum powder is a product commonly known as “baby powder”. For decades, talcum powder has been used for health and beauty purposes, including feminine hygiene.
Thousands of women who have used talcum powder are suing manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson due to their developing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma after using the product.
According to research, J&J knew for decades that talcum powder products may contain asbestos – the substance which causes mesothelioma. Still, they marketed and sold their products without any such warning.
More than 19,000 lawsuits have been filed, and billions of dollars have been awarded to plaintiffs harmed by talcum powder products.
Uloric is a drug used to treat hyperuricemia in patients who have gout. It is the first prescription drug in 40 years to be approved by the FDA for that purpose. Naturally, it was immediately popular and has been prescribed millions of times.
Since approval in 2009, Uloric has been linked to severe cardiac events, including heart attack, stroke or death. The manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, did not apply a warning to the drug’s label until 2019 at the FDA’s urging.
Numerous patients have filed lawsuits against Takeda claiming that the company failed to warn patients of the potentially life-threatening risks of the drug.
Valsartan is a drug classified as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). This drug is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Several manufacturers market generic versions of Valsartan, with some including amlodipine or hydrochlorothiazide.
Recently, the FDA has increased scrutiny and issued safety alerts and recalls after Valsartan products distributed by several manufacturers were found to be contaminated with probable human carcinogens NDEA (N-Nitrosodiethylamine), NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine), and NMBA (N-Methylnitrosobutyric acid). The bulk of the contaminated products were manufactured by Hetero Labs in India, and Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals in China.
Companies who have purchased Valsartan products from these manufacturers include Actavis, Aurobindo, Camber, Mylan, Prinston, Solco, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.
Since warnings were issued for contaminants, numerous lawsuits have been filed, and continue to be filed regularly. Many of these lawsuits are being consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court District of New Jersey. Litigation is ongoing and many more lawsuits are expected to be filed. You can read more about the MDL here.
In 2019, the FDA discovered that several batches of Zantac (generic ranitidine) contained probable human carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA. NDMA is known to cause serious health problems, including:
- Kidney oblems
- Liver problems
- Lung problems
Zantac and ranitidine products have been pulled from the U.S. market. Sadly, millions of people may have already been exposed to NDMA. Numerous lawsuits have already been filed against the makers of Zantac and ranitidine products. These lawsuits claim that the manufacturers knew, or should have known, about the presence of a toxic chemical in their product.
Even after NDMA was discovered, Zantac and ranitidine continued to be sold and prescribed without a warning.
Zofran was approved by the FDA in the 1990’s for use in patients undergoing radiation-based cancer therapy. Zofran treats nausea and vomiting, and shortly after being approved, doctors began prescribing the drug for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Zofran is not FDA approved for use in pregnant women, and research has shown a link between Zofran and birth defects.
Studies done in 2004 and 2012 showed an increase in birth defects including heart defects and cleft palate in babies born to mothers taking Zofran during pregnancy. Despite these findings, Zofran was the leading drug prescribed to pregnant women, with more than 50,000 prescriptions written each month from 2008 to 2013.
In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was fined by the Justice Department for unlawfully promoting Zofran, promoting it for unapproved use during pregnancy, and making false or unsubstantiated claims about Zofran use during pregnancy. The company paid more than $3 billion in fines.
Since that time, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against GSK related to Zofran and birth defects. All lawsuits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts. You can read more about the case here.
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