Pharmaceuticals represent a double-edged sword that is common in many of the standard components of modern-day healthcare. Their use unquestionably saves the lives of many and improves the quality life for others. However, medication mistakes and abuse can present unique dangers that also cause death and decreases the standard of living enjoyed by many patients.
It is for that reason that all consumers should tread carefully when dealing with these drugs. The same advice obviously applies to all other involved in the creation and administration of these potent medicines.
The potential for harm is also why it is vital that our nation’s regulators take pro-active steps to ensure that potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals be taken out of the business stream where they could cause untold damage. An important decision on that front was made recently according to the New York Times. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently pulled the painkilling drug propoxyphene, sold as Darvon and Darvocet, because of concerns about heart risks caused by their use.
Propoxyphene has been around for decades with questions around its potential dangers noted as long as 32 years ago. There was a petition drive to ban the drug in 1978. Drug company Eli Lilly made billions of dollars on the drug since its first use in 1957.
The drug ultimately has not been found to have much effect on pain at all. It also has a high risk for abuse with only a narrow margin of safety between the recommended dose and a potentially fatal dose. Yet, it retained popularity, with doctors prescribing the medication to over 17.5 million patients last year alone.
The latest troubling data on the drug, which ultimately led to its removal from prescription rolls, indicated that it causes potentially dangerous heart electrical charges. Previous studies also revealed that there were more drug-involved deaths in areas where propxyphene was more highly used.
Our Chicago malpractice lawyers are grateful that steps have been taken to help save lives by eliminating dangerous medical products from the shelves. However, these steps are often taken too little too late. It is unclear how many thousands of patients were killed or injured from propoxyphene in the decades since it was known to be dangerous but allowed to be prescribed. Medical patients deserve an active, reasonable, but forceful application of safety standards to ensure their medical care is as effective as possible.
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Visit the Levin & Perconti website to learn more about Darvon and Darvocet recall lawsuits.
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