Articles Posted in Product Liability

In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether a woman whose arm was amputated may keep more than $6 million from a jury award. The award was against a pharmaceutical company who failed to warn her adequately about the risks of one of its drugs. The woman went to a clinic suffering from a migraine and was given the drug Phenergan for nausea. When Phenergan is exposed to arterial blood it causes swift gangrene, which caused the woman to lose her arm. The Supreme Court will decide whether the doctrine of “pre-emption” can be applied which would bar injured consumers from suing in state court when the products that hurt them had met federal standards. Business groups have vigorously pursued pre-emption arguments in a hope to build a barrier against many kinds of injury suits. By leaving the case to the state, the jury is allowed to view the safety of the drug through the lens of a single patient who has already been catastrophically injured. To read the full story, click here.

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court decided that there was a federal law barring suits against makers of government-approved medical devises such as pacemakers. Now, the Court will consider whether to extend the shield against lawsuits to the makers of prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs. The current case before the court concerns a 62-year-old musician whose right arm was amputated after an anti-nausea drug was improperly injected into an artery and caused gangrene. She was successful in her medical malpractice suit and was awarded $6.7 million. The pharmaceutical company is appealing the medical malpractice suit saying that it should be thrown out. They claim that the FDA should decide whether a drug is safe or dangerous, not a jury. This would be changing the historical right to a civil jury trial as a protection for consumers. Consumer rights advocates state that companies should not have immunity from liability that ordinary citizens don’t have. To read the full story, click here.

A class action lawsuit has been launched for personal injuries and wrongful deaths sustained by many families against the makers of Tylenol 3, a product which contains codeine. Mothers who are breast feeding their children and taking the drug codeine may be at a previously unknown risk for placing their infants at harm. The product liability lawsuit claims that the pharmaceutical drug can cause personal injuries to infants including infant deaths because when taken by some woman the drug is naturally converted from codeine to morphine that is passed along to their infant via breast milk. Many doctors who recommend the drug after hearing these risks may be liable to their patients for medical malpractice. To read the full story click here.

Pfizer and Boehringer-Ingelheim have been called before a federal court following a class action lawsuit for the negligent manufacture and distribution of Mirapex, a drug recently given to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Restless Leg Syndrome. The lawsuit arose after two studies, one in 2003 by the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona and the second by the Mayo Clinic in 2005, found that patients treated with Mirapex developed compulsive behavior, including compulsive gambling and sexual behavior.

The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer and Boehringer-Ingelheim may have been aware of these side effects before releasing the drug but failed to list them in their report to the FDA. However, following the release of the studies, Pfizer and Boehringer began listing compulsive behaviors among possible side effects. The case has been designated for multidistrict litigation, meaning that all cases against Pfizer and Boehringer related to Mirapex will be brought before the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Minnesota. That court will be in charge of general discovery and preliminary matters related to Mirapex litigation. Cases that are filed in state court or another district will be transferred to the Northern District of Minnesota either through a motion by counsel or by the court’s own volition.

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Six people are dead and three injured after a medical helicopter crashed into another medical helicopter. The medical helicopter crashes came after the planes were transporting injured patients to the hospital. Medical errors are thought to be grounded in hospitals such as medical malpractice physician errors, pharmaceutical errors or medical device liability claims. This plane accident sheds light on a growing problem of medical helicopter crashes which raises questions about liability for the patient’s health and for the health of hospital and medical employees. To read about the most recent crash click here.

A new tort reform bill proposed in the House of Representatives may bring justice to those who face medical device defects and have pharmaceutical liability claims. The bill, titled the Medical Device Safety Act would allow those to bring product liability suits even on products approved by the FDA. This bill would allow those who suffered personal injuries from medical device defects and defective drugs to have a cause of action against the makers of such products. To read more about this tort reform that allows this nation to head in a positive direction click here.

A product recall has been issued for Total Body Formula and Total Body Mega Formula products. The products which are suppose to help with overall fitness have instead lead to serious personal injuries to the users of the recalled product. The nutrition supplement recall follows after the products were determined to contain toxic levels of some chemicals. Product liability lawsuits have already been filed by users of the recalled product who have suffered personal injuries from hair loss to pain in their legs. Product manufacturer lawsuits and lawsuits against the distributor of the recalled pharmaceutical and health product may be forthcoming. To read the full article click here.

A pharmaceutical lawsuit has been filed against Baxter after an individual received tainted heparin. The tainted product given to the 38 year old man lead him to suffer from serious personal injuries, pain and suffering and emotional trauma. There is likely a medical malpractice suit to be alleged against the dialysis clinic where the individual received the tainted medication from. To see the full story click here.

The case of Heparin contaminated with unknown toxins and imported from China continues to claim lives. To date, more than 81 deaths are linked to contaminated Heparin in the US and more may be discovered soon. The FDA says that the deaths from contaminated Heparin are a direct result of an allergic reaction to the toxin in some patients. The Chinese government denies that the contamination caused any deaths, though they do acknowledge that large batches of Heparin were contaminated. The Double lesson here is not just that drugs can be easily contaminated from foreign sources, but that two congressional hearings have highlighted just how under-funded and under-prepared the FDA is currently.

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A new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that about 1 in 15 children are harmed each year by medication dosing errors at hospitals. The study revealed that children are harmed by dosing errors and incorrect medication substantially more often than previously thought. The study also revealed that some of these dosing errors and patient injuries could be prevented easily.

Medication dosing errors in children are the central issue in popular actor Dennis Quaid’s lawsuit in Chicago against Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter Healthcare. Quaid is suing Baxter, a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, after Quaid’s baby twins received a Heparin overdose. The medical malpractice lawsuit is pending before Judge Quinn in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The full text of the Pediatrics study is available here.

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