Topic: Dangerous Drugs

What Will the “World’s Most Detailed Brain Scans” Mean for North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment?

July 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina traumatic brain injury victims (and their families) often feel frustrated because they lack comprehensive information about prognoses.

TBI is a very, very complicated and poorly understood catalogue of conditions. Although most people talk about traumatic brain injury as a “single thing” — it’s more likely that there are many different types of TBI, even if commonalities exist among these different “species” of disorder.

Fortunately, scientists are making headway in terms of understanding how the brain works — particularly, our imaging capabilities are getting better and better.

BBC News recently reported that scientists connected with the Human Connectome Project are publishing “the most detailed brain scans the world has ever seen.” So far, the researchers have published the scans of more than five-dozen adults, and they hope to scan 1,200 brains and include DNA and behavioral traits in the data. They are making the
info available to neuroscientists for free.

Professor David Van Essen told the BBC “we are very optimistic that as the community delves… into these data sets, they will reveal new insights into the brain circuits of healthy adults.” The volunteers engaged in many tasks during the scans, including gambling, doing math, manipulating their bodies, etc. Professor Van Essen hopes that this analysis will “uncover which neural pathways are important in determining human behaviors.”

With these better scanning methods, researchers may better understand the neural circuits that relate to various activities and emotional states. By understanding how normal brains work — and what they look like when they are working normally — researchers will also be able to help people who struggle with cognitive dysfunctions, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

For instance, researchers might be able to look at a brain scan of your friend or loved one who suffered a concussion in North Carolina (or some other kind of TBI) and compare that brain map to the map of a cognitively normal person to determine what therapies might be appropriate, what drugs might be appropriate, what kind of training might be most useful, and so forth.

We are a long way away from serious practical applications of this kind of scanning technology, but we are headed in the right direction. Don’t let this discourage you. Recovering from serious brain injury is a long term proposition, after all. After all, your goal is long term health and wellbeing — optimized based on your accident history and other factors.

The sooner that you can begin to understand not only the injury itself but also your legal options, the more at ease you will feel about your long term situation. Get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today to go over your options and to protect your rights. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for insight and a free case consultation.

Talk About Traumatic Brain Injury! Skull from 1200s Changes Scientists Thinking About Medieval Medicine…

June 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

When most people think about traumatic brain injury research, they fail to recognize that researchers themselves often understand very little about the history of TBI science.

Myths abound both at the level of subtle detail and at the level of large scale treatment.

For instance, many people believe that football related concussions definitively cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — and, indeed, this blog has published many articles suggesting that that link could be vigorous. But, to date, there has never been a thorough, double-blind, well controlled study to prove that thesis.

Scientific discoveries have a fascinating way of changing our perspective on TBI. Consider, for instance, the recent discovery of a mummy head specimen from the 1200s. Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at University Hospital of France, says that researchers found a specimen dating back to the early 1200s — a man’s head that was preserved using surprisingly advanced preparation. According to Charlier, the preparer used cinnabar mercury, lime, and bee’s wax to preserve the veins and arteries in the head. The specimen will soon be on display at the Parisian Museum of the History of Medicine.

Here’s what’s really interesting! It’s a revelation that a “Dark Ages” physician would be able to preserve such a specimen in such exquisite detail, given our stereotypical beliefs about what the Dark Ages were like. It turns out that many of our beliefs about what happened during the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Advent of the Renaissance were misguided.

According to an article on Life Science about this phenomenon — “grotesque mummy head reveals advanced medieval science” from March 5th — “science had already been advancing swiftly starting way back in the 13th Century.” Copernicus, for instance — the guy who popularized the revolutionary idea that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa — “took some of his thinking on the motion of the earth from Jean Buridan, a French priest who lived between about 1358 … but Copernicus credited the ancient Roman poet Virgil as his inspiration.”

Why is this all important?

It’s important to consider the historical context of traumatic brain injury science, because as someone who is recovering from an injury, you may be currently laboring under false beliefs about what you need to do — or what you should be doing — to manage the injury and its aftermath, particularly as it relates to compensation and liability.

The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo is ready to help you understand the dynamics of your case, so that you feel more empowered and less unsteady about how to proceed. Call us today at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation about your Charlotte TBI matter.

Scary New Research about Traumatic Brain Injury in Colleague Football Players: Even If You Don’t Get Concussed, You Can Still Sustain Serious Damage

June 20, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

New research produced by the Cleveland Clinic suggests that traumatic brain injury in college athletes may lead to a pathological process–long term harm–even when players don’t suffer diagnosable concussions.

The researchers looked at data collected from 67 collegiate players who played during the 2011 season. No player experienced a diagnosable concussion. However, 40 of the 67 players who got hit hard had high levels of an antibody that is associated with traumatic brain injury. The researchers sent these athletes to University of Rochester Medical Center for brain scans, where scientists analyzed them using a double blind analysis. Shockingly, abnormalities correlated with perturbed brain health were found in the brain scans of these non-concussed players.

According to the CDC, nearly half of all high school football players get concussed every season. College football players suffer similar rates of concussion.

This new research is quite alarming.

The implications are both shocking and potentially game changing. What if further research does bear out that the act of playing “regular” football is somehow fundamentally dangerous? How should we reform our institutions? Can the game itself be saved? Or will we just have to accept that student athletes will suffer some brain damage for the sake of
sport they love?

While much of our attention has been on the NFL–and for good reason, given the flood of new data we have on chronic traumatic encephalopathy–only 1,700 people play professional football.

Meanwhile, over 20,000 men play college football, and many more play high school football. If these players are suffering brain injury–or at least the beginnings of brain injury–without even getting concussed… that suggests that football may be more dangerous than even many alarmists have been suggesting.

The NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, Bryan Hainline, issued a statement affirming the League’s commitment to the health and well being of student athletes: “we are actively collaborating with members, institutions and research facilities to improve with the health and safety of student athletes.”

If you or your child got “his bell rung” at a football game in Raleigh, Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, you want answers. How can you afford to pay your medical bills? What should you do next in terms of bringing legal action–or at least researching legal action?

Our Charlotte traumatic brain injury law firm can help you answer those questions in a systematic, compassionate and confidential way. Call our offices now to get genuinely compassionate and thorough help with your situation.

Putting the Pieces of Your Traumatic Brain Injury Together: When You Can’t Remember What Happened

June 17, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a very common problem with North Carolina traumatic brain injury cases.

A person gets hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, workplace disaster, or a fight. But because of the brain injury, the person can’t recall the events that led to the injury in an accurate, linear, and coherent way.

So what you do?

The solution must be concocted on a case-by-case basis. Certain strategies might be useful in some cases but not others. For instance, let’s say that you got hurt at a Charlotte construction site, when a coworker switched off a piece of machinery while you were riveting. The jolt from that action set you tumbling off your platform to the ground. In that case, perhaps video footage recorded the fall, or other tracking devices might have gleaned evidence that can be used forensically to piece together the situation. Or maybe a coworker or other witness saw you fall.

What about situations in which the injured person gets hurt, and no one sees what happened?

This happens a lot with car accident cases. For instance, a person might drive solo on a wind-y Raleigh street during the middle of the winter, slip on a patch of black ice, and hit a tree. The driver might get a serious brain injury and be unable to remember why he slipped. In this kind of case, indirect forensic techniques could help to discern the cause of the accident.

For instance, maybe the tire patterns on the road could offer clues about why the car slipped on ice. Or maybe a detailed examination can reveal that the braking system failed.

The point is that, as a victim or friend/family member of a TBI victim, you don’t really need to worry about the details of the forensics as much as you do need to worry about obtaining effective legal counsel as early as you can in the process, so that that counsel can begin an immediate investigation and assemble the proper forensics.

To that end, get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today, so we can help you get a handle on your situation and build an effective case going forward.

How Much Will You Need to Be Involved with Your North Carolina Mass Tort Lawsuit?

June 9, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are on offense. As someone who was injured (or whose loved one was injured), you are seriously considering filing a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit — or an independent personal injury action.
On the other hand, you’re dubious. The thought of getting wrapped up in some complex legal action fills you with dread, because you don’t want to get roped into being a “lead plaintiff.” You want to forget about the traumatic experience — not have to relive it for months or years.

So how much, exactly, will you have to be involved in your legal fight?
The answer depends.

Obviously, if you choose to be a lead plaintiff — and if you’re pursuing a massive case against a huge company that could settle for tens of millions of dollars — then you obviously need to be pretty involved. However, the process is less involved and less confusing than you believe.
Assuming you pick a North Carolina class action law firm that’s a good fit for your needs — that shares your values and vision, and that has the experience and resources to argue effectively on your behalf — you won’t have to do much at all. That’s one of the beautiful things about finding good legal representation: When you’re well represented, you won’t have nagging questions distracting you from your day-to-day business and from the important work of recovery. You can focus all your attention on getting better, on fixing your financial problems, and on healing yourself psychologically.
While you ultimately need to “do more work” as a plaintiff in a class action or personal injury lawsuit than would if you “did nothing” about your case, the peace of mind that you’ll get will undoubtedly cancel out the extra work that you need to do.
For instance, if you don’t do anything, you might waste hours or even days’ worth of your time ruminating about aspects of your case or aspects of how to handle an insurance company.
That’s time you will never get back — time that you could spend relaxing or being productive.
Also — it should go without saying — but if you WIN your case, you should get well compensated for your injuries and damages. You will receive nothing, if you do nothing.
In summary: If you’ve been hesitant about connecting with an attorney, that hesitancy makes all the sense in the world. However, you might find it worthy to examine what’s at to the root of that hesitancy. Are you just scared about the time commitment? Because if so, that fear really doesn’t make objective sense. If not, probe deeper to understand what’s really going on — why, fundamentally, are you resistant to getting the help that you really need?

Really Sad North Carolina Mass Tort News

June 2, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Documenting North Carolina class action and mass tort lawsuits can be a sad and dispiriting exercise.

The lengths to which some companies will go to obfuscate the truth and to strive for profits at the expense of the wellbeing of human beings can shake one’s faith in humanity.

Consider, for instance, the recent resolution of a seriously twisted case out of New Jersey. A generic drug manufacturer, Par Pharmaceutical, pled guilty to charges to end civil and criminal investigations into its behavior. The drug maker will pay $45 million as punishment for marketing an AIDS drug, Megace ES, illegally for “off label uses.”

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had allowed the drug maker to sell Megace ES to treat anorexia and unexplained weight loss in AIDS patients. But the company tried to expand its consumer base by selling the drug to elderly people who didn’t have AIDS.

According to a U.S. attorney who worked on the case, Paul Fishman, “Par admitted to choose to ignore [the FDA approval process for new uses of medications] in pursuit of more sales and greater profits … the conduct was wrong and went on for a long period of time.”

The company sent sales forces to call on nursing homes and hospice facilities to sell the drug. They also sought out confidential patient data to find people who could be switched to the expensive drug. According to plaintiff’s lawyers, Par refused to acknowledge the potential safety effects on patients because “there is little profit to be made by marketing the drug lawfully, due to advancements in HIV and AIDS treatments which drastically reduced the on label patient population.

It’s really a shame that we need lawyers and whistleblowers to watchdog large pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers.

In an ideal world, these companies would do due diligence and take it upon themselves to vet their products and ensure patient health and wellbeing over their own profitability. After all, if you’re going in business to help people manage their medical conditions, your fundamental obligation is to your customers.

Unfortunately, the real world is full of disappointing situations.

If you or someone you love was harmed as a result of some company’s negligence, carelessness, omission, or other malfeasance, the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to advise you. Please call us at (877) 529-1222 to get a confidential, free evaluation of your case. Let us help you ensure justice and gain some peace of mind.

Your North Carolina Injury is Not the End of the World (Probably)–or At Least You Won’t Feel This Unhappy Forever

May 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re deeply depressed by your recent North Carolina injury. Whether some idiot in a truck bashed your car by blowing through a stop sign, or a doctor misread your chart and gave you a medication that made you literally sick to your stomach, you are in pain. You are angry; you are confused; and you are deeply dismayed by your situation and the prospects for your future.

Obviously, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time and undo the North Carolina truck accident or reverse the doctor’s negligent decisions. And you may indeed have a long road to hoe. You might never regain function of your leg. You might need to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might never be able to work as you once did. The brain damage caused by the accident may permanently limit your ability to be productive to two to three hours a day.

When you sit there and contemplate these scenarios–particularly the worst case scenarios–you can easily spiral into depression and apathy. This is really unfortunate. When you are depressed and/or apathetic, you may fail to take important kinds of action–such as contacting a reputable North Carolina mass tort law firm ASAP–because you feel too hopeless to persevere.

This is a shame, because science shows that our emotional immune systems are remarkably resilient.

Even IF a worst case scenarios plays out for you–e.g. you’re permanently hobbled by the accident or no longer able to work in a career that you love–these setbacks will not doom you to a lifetime of depression and unhappiness. Or at least they don’t necessarily mark you with that destiny.

That may sound very counterintuitive. But if you look at the research, those statements bare out.

Lottery winners notoriously experience euphoria for the first weeks or months after they win. But they ultimately wind up just as happy–and just as sad!–as they were before the pay day.

Likewise, people injured so severely that they are left as quadriplegics suffer extreme depression in the first few weeks and months. But they ultimately rebound to feel just as happy as they did before the devastating event.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have problems — that you shouldn’t feel depressed or anything. Rather, you should appreciate that your current emotional state is probably temporary.

Even more importantly, you need to avoid getting trapped by your emotions into “doing nothing” and/or into making impulsive and not-strategic actions that can have negative long-term implications for your finances and healthcare options.

To that end, consider connecting with the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation, so that we can put you on a more strategic path with respect to your case.

North Carolina Class Action News: Legal Fight Over High Sugar, High Caffeine Energy Drinks — A Portent of A Larger Battle To Come?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major mass tort battle in North Carolina (and well beyond?)

Perhaps so. And big beverage companies may be on the receiving end.

Last year, for instance, a woman in Australia allegedly died from over consuming Coca-Cola. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Maryland teenager died after drinking two large Monster Energy drinks in a single 24-hour period. These drinks contain a lot of caffeine and also a lot of sugar. While testifying before Chicago City Council, Edward Burke discussed a federal report “that showed the number of annual hospital visits tied to highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 — to 21,000.”

According to the President of Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Howard Axe, “super caffeinated energy drinks,” such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar, pose serious health risks, “including possible fatalities to adults and children, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The legal brouhaha in Chicago is focused on the adverse health effects of over consuming caffeine. Another, potentially more fraught and momentous debate has to do with the adverse effects of the overconsumption of liquid sucrose. As most famously articulated by pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, calories from liquid sucrose may have especially adverse effect on the liver because of the way the fructose component of sucrose gets metabolized by that organ. Lustig builds the case — at least in the doses that modern North Carolinians consume sugar — that “calorie is not a calorie.” The consumption of sugary liquid beverages, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even many fruit juices, may be doing tremendous harm to our population and precipitating problems like metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

So far, obviously, we have yet to see a major class action or mass tort lawsuit against beverage companies. But some health advocates are suggesting that we may be witnessing at least the beginnings of such machinations — they compare our current era to the era a few years before Big Tobacco was held to legal account for advertising and selling dangerous products.

If you have recently been harmed by a product or service, you are probably far less interested in the legal battle over energy drinks than you are with your own wellbeing, financially, medically, and otherwise.

 The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo proudly represents victims and their families in serious North Carolina personal injury matters. Please get in touch with us today by calling (877) 529-1222, so we can provide you a free consultation and help you get educated and informed about your options.

Our Illogical Reactions to Superstitions: Really Important to Understand, If You Want to Fight Your North Carolina Class Action Optimally…

May 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your son broke his ribs in an SUV rollover, your husband tore his ACL on an amusement park ride, or you suffered a devastating home fire when your space heater malfunctioned, you understand you have the potential to take some kind of legal action and perhaps to participate in a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit.

But you are confused about what to do next. Should you connect with a legal team like DeMayo Law or “deal with the situation yourself” — i.e. work directly with an insurance company?

Everyone has different needs and sensitivities and comforts. But it’s important to be rational rather than impulsive when you make a big decision like this.

We often play to our superstitions rather than to logical common sense.

Consider the diverse nature of our strange beliefs. Whether you are afraid of the number 13; you bet your wedding date when you play the lottery; or you worry about a black cat crossing your path or something along those lines, part of you recognizes that you’re being ridiculous with the superstitions.

You understand that that you are using “magical thinking” and not logic. But even when you “call out” your superstitions — call your own bluff — you may not be able to overpower your subconscious resistance. You may not, for instance, ever feel comfortable sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel. If you’re Russian, you may refuse to shake someone’s hand when they reach through a doorway to you.

Depending on how deeply you hold strange beliefs, they can really hamper your life.

The point is that wrestling with such strange beliefs–even when you make those beliefs conscious and you appreciate that they’re clearly irrational–is more challenging than meets the eye.

As much as we should “trust our guts” in certain situations, we also need to learn how and when to challenge our intuitions in order to achieve best results.

To that end, if you have reservations about connecting with an attorney–or if you have some strange belief about why you are not someone who “does” lawsuits, reflect on that received wisdom. Are those concepts actually serving you right now?

Consider, for instance, the worst thing that could happen, if you got a consultation with attorney, versus the best thing that could happen if you did. That the more that you can shine rational light on your fears, the more you can move beyond them and make more compelling and useful decisions.

Class Action Lawsuits “Brewing” For Budweiser

May 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser Beer, is facing a pretty serious class action lawsuit that alleges that the brewer watered down its products prior to bottling.

Thus far, plaintiffs in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and California have all filed suit against the beer manufacturer based on whistleblowing testimony from former high placed employees in the business–at 13 separate breweries.

Will a North Carolina class action against Budweiser be next?

Anheuser-Busch has fought back vigorously against the bad press–the company recently took out full page ads in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and eight other major newspapers touting the fact that the company provided 71 million cans of drinking water to the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations. The cheeky headline read “they must have tested one of these.”

But a lead attorney in the case, Josh Boxer, shrugged off the newspaper ad blitz as a “classic non-denial…(the) alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth.”

In court, Anheuser-Busch will need to produce data on its internal and alcohol testing procedures. Ten different products are tangled up in the legal matter, including well-known brands like Budweiser, Michelob, and Bud Ice as well as more “exotic” brands, like Hurricane High Gravity Lager and Bud Light Lime.

Do you have a potential Charlotte class action lawsuit?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand and defend your rights to get compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to file a personal injury suit or a mass tort action. Our team can help you strategize and determine the most effective, accurate course forward. Call us now for a free consultation, and get clarity on what you need to do.

The End of the Beginning of Your Quest for Justice After a North Carolina Injury

May 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the hours and days since your North Carolina injury–or your family member’s injury- you have been in a mad scramble to get medical care and make sense of your options.

What steps should you be taking (or not taking) to manage the medical crisis, collect evidence, and deal with the urgent logistics in your life? Who is going to take care of the kids while you’re hurt? Who’s going to handle the big work project that you had to drop to deal with the catastrophe? How will you pay the mortgage now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on ambulance and hospital services?

After you wrangle these urgent details, you then need to scramble to recalibrate everything in your life. You will also need to find a way to deal with the tremendous challenges of finding appropriate representation:

  • Do you have a case or not?
  • If so, what should you do first?
  • Whom can you trust?
  • How can you evaluate different law firms against one another?
  • How can you work effectively with a law firm to make sure that you get clear answers and good communication throughout the process?

All of these urgent questions might be on your mind. And they all need to be addressed.

The several lining–if there is one–is that, once you do get all of these things taken care of, assuming you have done everything effectively, you should enjoy renewed peace of mind.

The great gift that a solid North Carolina mass tort law firm can provide is the gift of clarity.

Even though your life may feel like it’s in a million pieces right now–if you know exactly what’s going to happen next and what to expect; and if you have trusted people working on your behalf–much of the stress and agitation will lift.

Obviously, even a superb law firm is not going to magically make your injury go away or eliminate the anger and frustration you feel about what happened. But you should feel a sense of relief and security that you are moving in the right direction.

And when people feel like their lives are moving in a positive direction, they often see passed their immediate limitations and handle the process with more grace and patience.

Connect with the DeMayo Law team right now for strategic, insightful assistance with your Charlotte personal injury matter.

Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Pharmacy Malpractice Allegations Made Against CVS Pharmacy in Huntersville

March 21, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Cornelius woman claims that she almost died because a CVS Pharmacy in Huntersville gave her a combination or drugs that proved dangerous. Michele Thomas filed a complaint with the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy against CVS and the pharmacist who dispensed the  medications.

If the pharmacy or the pharmacist was negligent and played a role in causing Thomas’s health issues, she could have grounds for a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina pharmacy malpractice lawsuit. Thomas said that the pharmacy filled her prescription for the drug Allopurinol to treat gout in October 2010. At the time, she was taking Imuran because she of a kidney transplant  she underwent years before. Thomas contended that she did not know that taking the two medications together was dangerous.

Six months later, she went to the ER. Tests showed that taking the two drugs at the same time caused her system to shut down.

Thomas said that even now she suffers from health complications and she still cannot work. She claims that the pharmacy has a software system that is supposed to oversee customer prescriptions to prevent such errors and that it failed. Thomas also believes that the pharmacist was at fault.

Meantime, CVS has put out a statement reaffirming its commitment to customer safety. The company said that it has taken steps to make sure that such a mistake, if one did in happen in Thomas’s case, doesn’t occur again.

Pharmacy Malpractice

Pharmacy mistakes can cause serious health complications and even death. It is important that the pharmacist and his/her assistants correctly read a prescription note and provide the customer with the right medication and adequate instructions to make sure that the drug is taken correctly.  Examples of pharmacy mistakes include giving the wrong drug (pharmacy misfills), dispensing a combination of drugs that could cause an overdose or dangerous reactions, dispensing medications that could cause allergic reactions for the patient, and neglecting to design and implement a quality assurance system that can successfully prevent pharmacy errors.

Often, pharmacists at a busy establishment are in a hurry and they may be trying to focus on completing multiple tasks at once. Some pharmacy employees who are hired may lack the experience or knowledge to do a proper job.

Common causes of pharmacy mistakes include short staffing, confusion over medications that sound or look the same, poor physician handwriting that can be hard to decipher, to many prescriptions to fill, exhaustion, plenty of distractions, not enough time to make sure each customer understand what is involved with taking a drug safely and correctly, and failures in the established system of checks and balances that is supposed to prevent such errors.

Contact our Mecklenburg County, North Carolina personal injury law firm to request your free case evaluation.

Woman alleges pharmacy gave her dangerous drug cocktail, WSOCTV, March 19,  2012

Don’t be a victim of pharmacy errors, CNN, October 25, 2007

More Blog Posts:

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit: Charlotte Woman Who Lost Her Breasts and an Arm in Propeller Accident Sues for Damages, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 25, 2012

North Carolina Workplace Shooting at Lumber Company Results in Three Deaths and One Injury, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2012

Products Liability: Two Families Sue for Wrongful Deaths of Loved Ones Fatally Burned While Wearing Flammable Robes, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 6, 2009

Anticholinergic Meds May Impair the Brain

February 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are some popular drugs, in fact, dangerous drugs? According to The New York Times, many people don’t realize that there are dozens of antihistamines, painkillers, and psychiatric medications that can negatively impact the brain—especially if the person is elderly. The Times reports that taking more than one of the medications that can have this effect may lead to memory loss and cognitive impairment.

These drugs, known as anticholinergics, block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is usually tasked with a number of bodily functions (including cognitive function and memory production.) The drugs’ effects are cumulative.

The reason that older patients are at higher risk of brain impairment is that they are more likely than younger persons to be taking multiple medications on a regular basis. Unfortunately, doctors don’t always know about every medication a patient is taking and they don’t always assess the anticholinergic properties of the medications they prescribe.

According to new findings, reported last year in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researcher of a study that followed over 13,000 British senior citizens, age 65 and above, found over a two year-period that not only did the patients taking two or more anticholinergic meds earn lower scores on cognitive function tests than elderly persons that weren’t taking this type of medication, but also, heavy med users had a 68% percent higher death rate.

In America, at least 20% of the 36 million people belonging to the age 65 and above age group take one or more anticholinergic drugs. Also, in a study of over 4,000 older people, researchers concluded that people who were taking at three or more anticholinergic drugs on a regular basis for at least 90 days were close to three times as likely as seniors that hadn’t taken this type of medication to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

Anticholinergics

Examples of popular anticholinergics: prednisone, codeine, warfarin, digoxin, Benadryl, Paxil, clozapine, and oxybutynin.  Also, there are a lot of over-the-counter medications, including Tylenol PM, antihistamines, and allergy medications, that if someone were to take them could lead to anticholinergic-related effects.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP, our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers represent clients that became sick or impaired because they took a medication that caused them to suffer a severe side effect. It is important that a drug manufacturer warn of any serious side effects that may result from taking a medication. Over-the-counter drugs, which anyone can pick up without a prescription, are not exempt from this requirement.

Unfortunately, it is the patient that suffers. Examples of other medications that have been linked to serious side effects Celebrex, Fen Phen, Bextra, Fosamax, Ortho Evra, Reglan, PPA, Rezulin, Hydroxycut, HRT, Darvocet, and Darvon.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm know how intimidating it can be to go after a drug company to pursue damages. There is no reason for you to do this without legal help.

Cocktail of Popular Drugs May Cloud the Brain, The New York Times, February 27, 2012

Study looks at medication risk for elderly, NHS, June 24, 2011

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 

More Blog Posts:

Prescription Drug-Related Injuries and Deaths Have More than Doubled, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 1, 2011

FDA Advisory Panel Meets to Discuss Fosamax and Other Bisphosphonates But Offers No Specific Recommendations on Duration of Long-Term Use, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 16, 2011

North Carolina Dangerous Drug: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptives for Daughter’s Fatal Pulmonary Embolism, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 21, 2011

 

Prescription Drug-Related Injuries and Deaths Have More Than Doubled

November 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A study released on Tuesday shows that the number of cases where serious health issues (including personal injury and wrongful death) were caused by prescription medication has increased dramatically between 1998 and 2007.

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 34,966 incidents where someone experienced adverse reactions to drugs. This year, the figure was 89,842. The study can be found in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The FDA defines serious side effects to drugs as including resulting birth defect, wrongful death, hospitalization, or disability. The study results come from reports made by drug makers to the FDA.

Close to 1500 drugs were named for causing serious health injuries to users. Painkillers was responsible for a large number of health problems. The drug ranked number one as a cause of death over the eight-year time frame was Oxycodone, which was held responsible for 5,548 fatalities. The study can be found in the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Every year, millions of people in the U.S. take prescription drugs and over the counter medicines to treat different health problems and medical conditions or to stay healthy. It is unfortunate that the use of certain medications have lead to serious injuries, health problems, and the death of many users.

Here is a list of some of the potentially serious and deadly side effects that can occur from a “dangerous” drug:

• Vomiting
• Stroke
• Heart attack
• Insomnia
• Kidney failure
• Birth defect
• Memory loss
• Hypertension
• Stomach aches
• Death

It is frequently not until after many victims are injured or killed because of a particular pharmaceutical drug that a drug recall is issued.

Over the years, victims of the following defective drugs have filed dangerous drug claims and lawsuits against manufacturers or other liable parties:

• Celebrex
• ReNu
• Trileptal
• Ortho Evra
• Fosamax
• Vioxx
• Bextra
• Fen Phen
• HRT
• PPA

Bad reactions to prescription drugs soar, The Washington Times, September 11, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Archives of Internal Medicine

Dangerous Prescription, PBS.org

FDA Advisory Panel Meets to Discuss Fosamax and Other Bisphosphonates But Offers No Specific Recommendations on Duration of Long-Term Use

September 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Although a Food and Drug advisory panel is recommending that labels on bisphosphonate drugs clarify how long a patient should take them for, the panel refrained from specifying any actual time limits. The panel met because of growing concerns that using a bisphosphonate drug long-term—more than three to five years—can cause jaw bone death and thigh bone and femur fractures in women. Please contact our Charlotte, North Carolina Fosamax law firm if you are someone who has been taking bisphosphonates and developed Osteonecrosis of the jaw or suffered a bone fracture.

Bisphosphonates are often prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Fosamax, Aclasta, Reclast, Actonel, Boniva, and Altevia are examples of bisphosphonate drugs. While the FDA advisory panel acknowledged the unusually high rate of thigh fractures in women who had been taking Fosamax and other bisphosphonates for a number of years was unusually high, it also noted that there isn’t enough data available for it to make specific recommendations.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw
Also known as dead jaw, ONJ involves the death of jawbone tissue. This can lead to exposed bone, teeth loss, swelling, infection, and pain in the gum and jaw, jaw numbness, loss of sensation, gum loss, and the eventual collapse of the bone area. More than 125 ONJ cases have been linked with bisphosphonate drug use. Some researchers say that bisphosphonates stop new blood vessels from forming in the jawbone tissue.

Fractures
Considering that bisphosphonates are supposed to make bones stronger, if they are in fact actually weakening the bones, then the drug is causing damage. A number of women have come forward claiming that their femur bones snapped suddenly while they were walking. In some instances, the damage to the bones was more severe than one would typically see from this type of incident. Symptoms of a possible femur fracture can include:

• Serious pain
• Deformation in the leg area
• Tissue swelling
• Leg immobility
• Bone fragments coming through the skin

Esophageal Cancer
There is also concern that bisphosphonates increase the chance of a user developing esophageal cancer, which hits the channel in the body through which food travels to the stomach. However, there is conflicting information about that at this time. There is usually no cure for esophageal cancer.

Over 1600 Fosamax fracture complaints have already been filed.

North Carolina Dangerous Drugs
Drug makers must warn of any serious side effects that taking their medication can cause. Failure to warn of side effects or dangerous that result in serious health complications can be grounds for a North Carolina products liability lawsuit.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective products law firm can help you determine if your bone condition is a result of taking Fosamax or another bisphosphonate. If so, you may be entitled to North Carolina personal injury compensation from Merck, which makes Fosamax, or the manufacturer of any other bisphosphonate drugs that you may have been taking.

Fosamax Scare: Those With Osteopenia Gauge Risk, ABC News, March 10, 2010

FDA panel unclear on osteoporosis drug labels, CBS News, September 12, 2011


Related Web Resources:

Bisphosphonates, FDA

ONJ, Rheumatology.org

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Dangerous Drug: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptives for Daughter’s Fatal Pulmonary Embolism, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 21, 2011

Yaz Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Wrongful Death Teen Who Went into Cardiac Arrest While Attending Elon University in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2011

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2011

North Carolina Dangerous Drug: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptives for Daughter’s Fatal Pulmonary Embolism

June 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Scott Prewitt is seeking North Carolina wrongful death and products liability damages from Bayer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Intendis. He is also suing Dr. William Bryan III, Asheville Children’s Medical Center, and Kelly Klaaren for North Carolina medical negligence. Prewitt’s 15-year-old daughter, Brittany Nicole died from a pulmonary embolism while taking birth control pills to treat her acne. A doctor had prescribed the medication to her.

Brittany Nicole was just 13 when she started taking Yasmin. The following year, the same dermatologist who had prescribed that birth control pill started prescribing Ocella, which is a generic form of Yasmin, instead.

Although the USDA has approved Yasmin for contraception, the pill is not approved for treating acne. While doctors are allowed to prescribe the medication for off-label purposes, the drugs’ manufacturers are not supposed to promote the drug for these uses. Prewitt claims that Bayer did just that when marketing Yaz to dermatologists and ignored the risks involved. He also says that he and his family read and watched media that led them to conclude that it would be safe for Brittany Nicole to use Yasmin and its sister contraceptive Yaz.

Prewitt is also claiming North Carolina medical negligence against Dr. Bryan, who saw his daughter after her knee became red and swollen on June 4, 2009. The doctor diagnosed her symptoms as “superficial cellulitis.” About two weeks later, physician assistant Kelly Klaaren looked at Brittany’s rash and diagnosed her with dermatitis. The teenager collapsed nine days later and was pronounced dead.

Drug manufacturers must follow FDA regulations. They also must make sure that they market the medications in a way that doesn’t prove dangerous and let consumers and medical providers know if there are any risks involved. Failure to do either of this can be grounds for a North Carolina products liability case.

Taking the Pill for Acne Was Fatal, Dad Says, Courthouse News, June 20, 2011

Related Web Resources:
US Food and Drug Administration

Yasmin


More Blog Posts:

Yaz Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Wrongful Death Teen Who Went into Cardiac Arrest While Attending Elon University in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2011

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2011

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2011

Yaz Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Wrongful Death Teen Who Went into Cardiac Arrest While Attending Elon University in North Carolina

May 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The family of Michelle Pfleger has filed a products liability lawsuit against Bayer over her wrongful death. The 18-year-old was attending Elon University in North Carolina when she a blood clot went into her lungs, causing her to go into cardiac arrest and die. The plaintiffs contend that the incident was triggered by Plfeger’s use of the Yaz birth control pills for her acne.

In their Yaz lawsuit, Plfeger’s family claims that the pill doesn’t come with adequate warnings about the risks involved with taking it. It was just recently that two studies in the British Medical Journal reported a link between oral contraceptives that contain the hormone drospirenone and a higher risk of blood clots in women compared to those taking birth control pills with the hormone levonorgestrel. Yaz contains drospirenone, as does the Yasmin birth control bill. Both drugs are from Bayer. The drug manufacturer has dismissed these findings.

Some 7,000 products liability lawsuits have been filed by women accusing Bayer of failing to properly warn about the risks of certain serious side effects. Over 50 deaths linked to Yaz and Yasmin were reported to the Food and Drug Administration between 2004 and the third quarter of 2008.

Other side effects linked to Yaz and Yasmin:
• Stroke
• Pulmonary embolism
• Heart attack
• Gallbladder disease
• Liver damage
• Deep vein thrombosis
• Anaphylactic shock
• Migraines
• Weight gain
• Higher level of potassium in the blood
• Hair loss

A North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit can allow you to hold a drug manufacturer liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

Bayer faces US lawsuit over contraceptive, AFP, May 11, 2011

Mother of Elon student sues Bayer over daughter’s death, The Business Journal, May 11, 2011


Related Web Resources:

Bayer

Yaz

Warning: Letter, FDA

British Medical Journal


More Blog Posts:

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2011

Topamax as a Dangerous Drug?: FDA Warns of Possible Birth Defect Risk, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2011

GlaxoSmithKline Settles Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Over North Carolina Wrongful Death of Man from Taking Avandia, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2011

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage

April 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A woman is suing Abbot Laboratories for products liability because of personal injuries she says she sustained from Taking Humira. She claims that the drug, which she took for Crohn’s disease, caused permanent nerve damage in her feet.

The plaintiff, Kara Mae Pletan said that she began to develop small fiber peripheral neuropathy three months after she started taking Humira injections. Because of the “stabbing pains and hypersensitivity” in the 32-year-old’s feet, she had to sell her family’s retail furniture store because she could no longer do her job. She also is now unable to take part in outdoor activities.

Pletan contends that even before Abbott started marketing the drug to Crohn’s disease patients, the drug manufacturer knew that the medication could cause peripheral neuropathy. Her lawyer says that Abbott has downplayed Humira’s serious side effects.

Peripheral Neuropathy
• Can cause pain and numbness in the feet and hands
• Typically creates a painful sensation that feels like burning or tingling
• Loss of sensation may cause the person to feel like he/she is wearing a glove or stocking

Initially sold as a drug for rheumatoid arthritis, Humira is now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for five autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s diseases. Last year, worldwide sales of Humira was $6.5 billion

Pletan is not the only person to sue Abbott over Humira. In January, plaintiff Gayathri Murthy blamed her lymphoma on the drug, which she took for arthritis. Another plaintiff who has arthritis, Maureen Calisi, also has said Humira caused her cancer.

North Carolina Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
If you believe that taking Humira caused you or your loved one to develop health complications, you should find out about your legal options for filing a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit.

Abbott Labs Sued on Claim Humira Caused Lasting Nerve Damage, Bloomberg, April 26, 2011

Arthritis ‘Miracle’ Drug Caused Breast Cancer, Suit Charges, Consumer Affairs, April 19, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Peripheral neuropathy, Mayo Clinic

Humira, NIH.gov

Humira

Related Web Resources:
Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2011

Topamax as a Dangerous Drug?: FDA Warns of Possible Birth Defect Risk, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2011

GlaxoSmithKline Settles Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Over North Carolina Wrongful Death of Man from Taking Avandia, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2011

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits

March 29, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Under the House version of a North Carolina medical malpractice reform bill, a person injured by a drug that had been approved by government regulators would not be able to file a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit against manufacturer. The bill is part of a larger tort reform package that wants to cap noneconomic damages at $250,000 and for the amount that is awarded to be adjusted every three years to reflect the Consumer Price Index. Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers will continue to monitor the developments surrounding this issue, which will have an effect on medical malpractice victims.

Exempt from the proposed immunity would be drug makers that continued selling a medication even after the government ordered that it be taken off the market, as well as those that bribed a government official to get the drug approved or misrepresented/purposely kept information so that the government would approve the drug. Also, as with Senate Bill 33, the House bill only allows emergency room doctors to be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice if he/she acted in grossly negligent manner.

North Carolina House Republicans are also pushing for the state to be able to take 3/4ths of any punitive damages over $100,000 awarded by a jury. The money would be placed in a state fund supporting public schools.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers are well aware of the serious injuries and health issues that can result because a patient took a dangerous or defective medication. Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure that their products are safe for use. They must also provide adequate warning of dangerous side effects and possible adverse reactions. If their drug contributed to causing North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death, then they should be held liable.

House bill would shield drug makers, NewsObserver, March 24, 2011

North Carolina Bill To Restrict Product Liability Suits, Pharmalot, March 24, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Read the Tort Reform Draft Bill, Representatives Rhyne and McComas (PDF)

Food and Drug Administration

Topamax as a Dangerous Drug?: FDA Warns of Possible Birth Defect Risk

March 26, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Following new data indicating that babies born to women who were pregnant when Topamax are at higher risk of developing a cleft palate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to strengthen the warning labels that come with the drug. Topamax’s generic equivalents will also get new labels. If you think there is a possibility that your child may have developed a birth defect or another serious health injury or issue from taking Topamax, you should contact our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug law firm right away.

Per the new data, from the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry, topiramate, which is the main ingredient in Topamax, can increase the risk of oral clefts in babies during the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy by more than 20 times.

Other possible serious side effects:

• Other types of craniofacial defects affecting the oral cavity
• Genital birth defects
• Limb malformation
• Greater risk of spina bifida
• Persistent pulmonary hypertension
• Hypospadias
• Genital birth defects
• Congenital birth defects

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is the parent company of Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical LLC, which makes this anti-seizure/anti-migraine drug. It was just last year that two subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson consented to paying over $81 million to settle claims by the Justice Department that they had illegally marketed Topamax to facilitate weight loss and treat bipolar disorder, alcohol dependency, and other off-label conditions that the FDA had not yet approved. A number of whistleblower complaints had also been filed accusing doctors of receiving payments to push Topamax for off-label purposes.

The FDA wants doctors and other medical professionals to make sure that they warn women of childbearing age about the risks associated with taking Topamax when prescribing it.

UPDATE: FDA Strengthens Topamax Warning On Evidence Of Birth Defects, The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2011

Moms-to-Be: Are You Taking This Dangerous Drug?, HuffPost, March 14, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Topamax

FDA

Cleft Palate Foundation

Protecting Americans from Defective Medical Devices: Is the FDA Doing Enough?

February 18, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, there are questions as to whether the Food and Drug Administration is doing a good enough job of protecting Americans from defective medical devices. This is obviously an issue of concern for patients, as well as for our Charlotte, North Carolina defective medical devices attorneys who are familiar with how dangerous faulty/malfunctioning devices can be for patients.

Researchers looked at 113 devices that the FDA recalled between 2005 and 2009. The recalls were issued because of the health risks the devices posed. It now appears that 71% of these devices were approved without ever being tested on people—primarily because they were considered similar enough to at least one other product already in the marketplace. Just 19% of the products had to go through tougher review.

The FDA’s less strict approval process, which attempts to get medical devices out there sooner rather than later, is hurting patients. Yet, according to the Washington Post, seeing as over 19,000 medical devices were approved during those four years, there really weren’t that many recalls issued. FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley noted that many people have benefited from the approval of many of these medical devices. She did also say, however, that the researchers’ findings show a need for better safeguards. The agency is making 25 changes to ensure this.

While it is true that medical devices can save lives, defective ones have also been a source of serious injury and death. It is important that manufacturers make sure their products are safe before releasing them into the market and that the government does its job by checking to make sure a medical device is safe before placing its stamp of approval on it.

Examples of defective medical devices:

• DePuy Hip Replacement Systems
• Guidant Cardiac Defibrillator
• Medtronic Defibrillators
• Duragesic Pan Patch
• Nuvaring
• Knee Implants
• Guidant Pacemakers

Study of recalled medical devices faults lax FDA testing methods, The Washington Post, February 15, 2011

Medical Device Recalls and the FDA Approval Process, Archive of Internal Medicine, February 14, 2011

Related Web Resource:
US Food and Drug Administration

Related Blog Posts:
Banning Defective Medical Devices: Report Raises Questions About Whether FDA is Doing Enough to Protect People, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 24, 2010

Medical Device-Related Complications Send Over 70,000 Children to the ER Every Year, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 24, 2010

Supreme Court Places New Limits on Products Liability Lawsuits Filed Against Medical Device Manufacturers, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2008

GlaxoSmithKline Settles Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Over North Carolina Wrongful Death of Man from Taking Avandia

January 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

GlaxoSmithKline and the family of James Burford have reached an out of court settlement over his wrongful death. The North Carolina man died in 2006. The dangerous drug agreement was reached right before the jury trial, which was set to open today. By settling, GSK avoided what could have been a large verdict amount that may have included punitive damages.

Burford, 49, took Avandia for about 15 months for his diabetes before he died from a heart attack. While the drug maker argued that Burford’s diabetes increased his risk of heart attack regardless of what drug he was taking, the family’s dangerous drug lawyers claimed that Glaxo officials kept studies showing the increased health risks linked to Avandia from regulators.

GSK is facing some 2,000 lawsuits over Avandia and has put aside about $3.4 billion to settle the cases. Bloomberg reports that thousands of lawsuits accusing Glaxo of concealing Avandia’s heart at attack risks were settled last summer for about $460 million.

In September, the Food and Drug Administration decided it was limiting use of Avandia to patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes that cannot manage this condition with other drugs. Users have to be notified of the risks Avandia poses to the heart.

Unfortunately, many people have suffered injuries or had heart attacks from using Avandia and sister drugs Avandaryl and Avandamet, which both contain Avandia. It is unfortunate when a drug that is supposed to help people causes fatal injury instead.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
It is negligence on the part of a drug manufacturer that fails to notify regulators and users of possible risks involved with taking a particular medication. As the plaintiff of a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit, you may be entitled to financial compensation for mental anguish, pain and suffering, permanent disability, medical costs, future medical bills, present and future lost wages, physical therapy expenses, and prescription costs. If your loved one has died, you may have grounds for North Carolina wrongful death recovery.

Glaxo Suit on Avandia Heart Attack Death Settled on Trial’s Eve, Bloomberg, January 31, 2011

GSK settles Avandia suit involving death of NC man before trial, WRALTechwire, January 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Avandia

GlaxoSmithKline

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit: Man Claims Diabetes Drug Avandia Caused Heart Attack, North Carolina Injury Lawyer, November 19, 2009

 

North Carolina Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Involving Zometa and Aredia Results in $12.8M Verdict Against Novartis AG

November 29, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A jury has awarded the family of Rita Fussman $12.8 million in their Winston-Salem, North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit against Novartis AG. Fussman died of breast cancer in 2009. However, her family contends that prior to her passing she experienced more discomfort than she should have because the chemotherapy drugs Aredia and Zometa caused her to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which involves the decaying of the jaw bone.

After three days of deliberations, the Winston-Salem jury found that Novartis did not adequately warn Fussman about the risks associated with taking the drugs. Her family’s North Carolina products liability case is the third one involving Zometa and ONJ to go to trial. A $3.2 million jury verdict was awarded in one case last year. A second trial ended with a jury verdict.

Currently, there are about 600 to 700 dangerous drug lawsuits filed against Novartis over its bone strengthening medicines and the increased ONJ risk that they allegedly create. ONJ can lead to decay, may require jaw removal surgery, and can also cause the patient’s death. Although Novartis started warning doctors in 2005 that these drugs can cause bone damage, the Fussman family contends that the drug maker knew about the dangerous as far back as the 1980’s. Fussman started taking Zometa in 2001.

Out of the $12.8 million Winston-Salem dangerous drug award, $12.6 million is for punitive damages and $287,009 is for compensatory damages. However, because the state has a punitive damages cap, Novartis will pay the plaintiffs about $1.1 million.

Jury awards $12.8M in bone-drug lawsuit, Winston-Salem Journal, November 25, 2010

Novartis Hid Risks to Protect Sales, Lawyer Says, Bloomberg, November 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Novartis AG

Osteonecrosis of the jaw

Zometa

Aredia

Banning Defective Medical Devices: Report Raises Questions About Whether FDA is Doing Enough to Protect People

November 24, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new report published in BMJ, a British medical journal, is questioning the US Food and Drug Administration’s ability to keep defective and dangerous medical devices out of the market. The paper contends that inadequate manpower, an insufficient budget, lack of authority, and the agency’s co-opting by special interests, medical devices makers, and political forces are rendering the FDA unable to do its job to protect the public.

The authors of the study, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice instructor Shannon Brownlee and medical investigative journalist Jeanne Lenzer, talk about the deficiencies in the FDA’s post-approval surveillance process. For example, since the agency approved the vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) by Cyberonics 13 years ago, there have been reports of approximately 900 deaths involving people that used the medical device. The FDA still does not know what caused these fatalities or if a VNS even was a cause of death. Some 60,000 people are currently using a VNS, which is designed for treating epilepsy and is also approved treating depression. Cyberonics is seeking to widen the approval for VNS so that it can be used for treating traumatic brain injury, stroke, and obesity.

Recently, the FDA took back its approval of the Menaflex Collagen scaffold knee replacement device. The agency admitted that it approved the medical device without properly researching it because of political pressure and the flexible requirements that exist to fast-track certain devices. Under the 510(k) program, new medical devices can be approved quickly if their makers can show that the product works in the same that other medical devices currently in the market do.

In August, DePuy Orthopaedics recalled about 93,000 artificial hips over concerns that the medical devices had a 12 – 13% failure rate. Metal particles from the implants have also been known to cause cobalt toxicity.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective medical device lawyers know that it can be very upsetting to discover that you or your loved one developed health issues or now have to undergo yet another medical procedure because the manufacturer of your medical device was negligent.

Is the FDA doing its job?, Washington Post, November 3, 2010

Why the FDA can’t protect the public, BMJ, November 2010

FDA Determines Knee Device Should Not Have Been Cleared for Marketing, FDA, October 14, 2010

DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Products Recalled, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 16, 2010

Related Web Resources:
US Food and Drug Administration

VNS Therapy, Cyberonics

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Involving Levaquin and Ruptured Tendons Will Go to Trial

November 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Edward Karkoska’s dangerous drug lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Levaquin, will go to trial, ruled a federal judge—despite efforts by the manufacturer and subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc. to have the case dismissed. Karkoska maintains that if there had been more information available about the side effects linked to the antibiotic, his doctor would have prescribed a different medication.

Karkoska is not the only person to sue Johnson & Johnson over claims of injuries sustained from taking Levaquin. He is also not the first to claim that he ruptured his tendon because of the drug. The plaintiffs have contended that if the drug manufacturer had taken greater pains to let people know about the dangerous side effects that could result from taking Levaquin, their injuries would not have happened.

Levaquin
Levaquin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996. The drug is used to prevent bacterial infections of the kidneys, skin, bladder, sinuses, prostate, as well as infections related to pneumonia and bronchitis. Over the years, evidence has mounted that the medication can also damage the body’s tendons. A black box warning was issued for the antibiotic in 2008, yet many doctors are still not aware that ruptured tendons is a possible side effect.

Other serious Levaquin side effects:
• Diarrhea
• Seizures
• Dizziness
• Joint pain or swelling
• Dark urine
• Yellow or pale skin
• Easy bleeding or bruising
• Skin rash
• Fever

Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers are committed to fighting for our clients’ right to injury recovery from a negligent drug manufacturer. Unfortunately, even medications that have been FDA-approved can be dangerous to ingest.

Levaquin Lawsuit Proceeds To Trial Over Ruptured Tendons, DrugAlert.org, August 6, 2010

Levaquin, Drugs.com

Related Web Resources:
Read Pretrial Order #4 (PDF)

US Food and Drug Administration

$21 Million Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Verdict Awarded to Woman Who Took Anti-Inflammatory Drug Sulindac

September 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A federal jury has awarded Karen Bartlett a $21 million products liability award against Mutual Pharmaceutical Company. The 51-year-old woman developed Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) after taking Sulindac, an anti-inflammatory medication that is the generic version of Clinoril.

Bartlett took Sulindac in 2005 for her shoulder pain. Two weeks later, she developed a reaction on her face. She would go on to be diagnosed with SJS and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). Because 65% of her skin was damaged, Bartlett spent 112 days in a hospital burn unit. She is now blind and has sustained permanent injuries to her stomach, throat, and lungs. In her dangerous drug lawsuit, Bartlett accused the pharmaceutical company of failing to adequately warn about the potential side effects that Sulindac can have on her skin.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome
SJS is a rare, sometimes deadly autoimmune disease that can occur because of drug reactions and allergies. The disease can cause serious skin burns, rashes, loss of skin, and the skin condition Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. SJS can also cause damage to mucus membranes—affecting areas such as the mouth, eyes, nose, or vagina—and internal organs. A person suffering from SJS can develop deadly infections, such as bacteremia or sepsis.

Recovery from SJS is a long and painful process. Patients usually end up in the ICU or a Burn Unit for a time.

SJS is usually a result of an adverse drug reaction. Bacterial infections and over-the-counter drugs are also possible causes of SJS.

The Food and Drug Administration now requires that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) come with a “black box” warning listing serious side effects, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

SJS Lawsuit Garners Victim $21 Million, Salient News, September 20, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Sulindac Side Effects, Drugs.com

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, MayoClinic

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Charlotte, North Carolina Injury Attorney Michael A. DeMayo Now a Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

August 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Michael A. DeMayo, a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyer, is now a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the country. Members must have won multi-million dollar verdicts, settlements, and awards for their clients. Attorney DeMayo, who is founder and president of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, is also a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Less than 1% of US attorneys belong to this group, known for its excellence in advocacy and for having obtained for at least one client an award, settlement, or verdict of $1 million or greater.

Charlotte, Personal Injury Attorney DeMayo leads a team of dedicated professionals with over 100 years of combined legal experience. They are committed to obtaining the financial recovery that their clients and families are owed by negligent parties. Our North Carolina law firm represents victims and surviving family members with all types of injury cases, including those involving medical malpractice, automobile accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall, products liability, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, nursing home neglect and abuse, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, pedestrian accidents, and workers’ compensation. The Law Offices of Michael DeMayo is located in Charlotte, Monroe, Hickory, and Lumberton, North Carolina. We also represent clients with South Carolina personal injury cases in the counties of Marlboro, Chesterfield, York and Lancaster.

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Michael A. DeMayo is also an active member of the community. Each year, his law firm awards college scholarships to a number of high school seniors for their innovative and creative ideas on ways to stop teens from driving drunk.

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum & Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Michael A. DeMayo, Esq.

Verdicts & Settlements, Law Office of Michael A. DeMayo

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Seeks Injury Compensation for Rituxan User Who is Now A Quadriplegic

August 6, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 23-year-old man who is now a quadriplegic has filed a dangerous drug lawsuit against the makers of Rituxan. The defendants of this products liability complaint are Biogen Idec. and Genentech Inc.

Jesse Peetz started taking the immunosuppressant in 2003 to treat thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura, an autoimmune disorder that he had been suffering from since he was 11. He contends that he was unaware that the drug would make him susceptible to developing untreatable infections. He developed a near-deadly infection in 2005 that resulted in his loss of motor function.

In his dangerous drug complaint, Peetz is accusing the defendants of failing until 2007 to warn users about the risks associated with taking the immunosuppressant. He contends that in 2003, defendants began marketing Rituxan for off-label use to treat the condition that Peetz was suffering from. Off-label means that the Food and Drug Administration had not approved this particular use for the suppressant. In 2007, BIogen Idec and Genentech finally put out a warning that use of the drug could lead to untreatable viral infections, catastrophic injury, and death.

Rituxan is FDA-approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The powerful drug gets rid of mature circulating B-cells for close to nine months, which can allow for the deadly viruses. Rituxan has also been linked to several cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a deadly brain and nervous system viral infection.

Peetz took Rituxan for two years before he developed the dangerous viral inflection. Now, he depends heavily on a ventilator.

Charlotte, North Carolina Dangerous Drug Lawsuit
Just because you or your loved one took a drug prescribed by a doctor and made by a pharmaceutical company doesn’t mean that the medication is good for you. Unfortunately, dangerous drugs continue to make it out into the marketplace, posing a serious danger to people. Drug manufacturers must be held accountable for their negligence in making and designing a drug that can hurt or kill you.

Neb. man sues makers of Rituxan after infection, WTOP/AP, August 11, 2010

Lawsuit Says Rituxan Left Man A Quadriplegic, Drug Discovery and Development, August 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Rituxan

Genentech Inc.

Biogen Idec.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuit: Jury Orders Pfizer to Pay $38.4 Million To Breast Cancer Survivor Who Used Hormone Replacement Drugs

June 1, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Last month, a jury ruled against Pfizer in the dangerous drug lawsuit filed by a breast cancer survivor who used the hormone replacement drugs Prempro, Premarin, and Provera. The verdict in favor of plaintiff Donna Kendall: $28 million in punitive damages and $6.3 million in compensatory damages.

The 66-year-old woman was diagnosed with breast cancer after taking Provera and Prempro for 11 years. According to the civil jury, the three drugs contributed to causing Kendall’s breast cancer. Jury members also found that Pfizer failed to adequately warn consumers about the dangers linked to using the hormone replacement medications.

This dangerous drug verdict comes just one month after another jury ordered Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, now owned by Pfizer, to pay $75 million to a woman because she developed breast cancer after taking Prempro. Connie Barton took the hormone drug from 1997 until 2002 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Barton underwent a mastectomy to remove her left breast to combat the disease. She says she started taking Prempro because her doctor told her it could prevent dementia and heart disease.

Prempro and Premarin are used to treat menopause. The drugs are used by millions of Americans women who have menopause. They were told that using the HRTs could prevent major illnesses. Provera is used to treat secondary amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometrial hyperplasia.

However, recent findings have linked Premarin and Prempro to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Plaintiffs have filed some 13,000 products liability lawsuits against Pfizer claiming the hormone replacement drugs caused cancer and other issues.

Cancer is a serious illness. If a pharmaceutical drug caused your cancer, you may be able to obtain dangerous drug compensation from the negligent pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug and/or failed to tell you about the associated risks.

Pfizer Ordered to Pay $34.3 Million in HRT Lawsuit, MedPage Today, November 24, 2009

Menopause, as Brought to You by Big Pharma, NY Times, December 12, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Pfizer

Hormone Replacement Therapy, Medline Plus

Allergan Ordered to Pay $15 Million Dangerous Drug Verdict For Failing to Warn About Possible Botox Side Effects

May 15, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A jury has ordered Allergan to pay a woman $15 million for the personal injuries she sustained from using Botox. The plaintiff, Dr. Sharla Helton, claims that she suffered botulism poisoning after she received Botox injections in 2006 to get rid of her wrinkles.

Jury members found that Allergan was negligent in its labeling of the Botox injections, which, at the time, did not warn that botulism might be a possible side effect. The 48-year-old gynecologist and obstetrician says that because of her health issues she was forced to resign as Lakeside Women’s Hospital’s medical director. She also had to sell her medical practice.

The verdict comes just three months after another jury ruled in Allergan’s favor in the Botox lawsuit filed by a woman seeking products liability compensation for her daughter’s wrongful death in 2007. Kristen Spears received Botox injections to treat her cerebral palsy, but Allergan’s legal team argued that she died from cerebral palsy complications and not from the drug. The jury in that case found that Allergan had provided adequate warning about the possible risks that could arise from using Botox.

Life-threatening side effects from receiving Botox treatments can include heart attacks, serious allergic reaction, arrhythmia, respiratory depression, and botulism poisoning. That said, Helton’s dangerous drug attorneys claim that there are many people out there who don’t realize that the reason they fell ill was because they were injected with Botox.

Botox is now approved for cosmetic use and for treating certain medical conditions, such as strabismus, cervical dystonia, blepharospasms, and hyperhidrosis.

Oklahoma County jury finds Botox maker negligent, awards $15 million, NewsOk, May 12, 2010

Jury Awards Doctor $15M In Lawsuit Against Botox, CBS2, May 12, 2010

F.D.A. Orders Warning Label for Botox, NY Times, April 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Botox Cosmetic

Allergan

Food and Drug Administration

E-Ferol: $110 Million Dangerous Drug Settlement Reached in Deaths of Babies

April 14, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A $110 million class action settlement was approved last week against the maker and distributor of E-Ferol. Carter-Glogau Laboratories was E-Ferol’s manufacturer and O’Neal, Jones & Feldman Pharmaceuticals distributed the supplement that was administered briefly during the mid-80′s.

At least 38 baby deaths are linked to E-Ferol, which was supposed to prevent blindness known as retrolental fibroplasias, that can be caused by a vitamin E deficiency. However, The plaintiffs’ lead attorney believes that many more infants died than the ones noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vitamin E supplement was administered intravenously and marketed as a drug that could help premature babies. E-Ferol had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and was recalled after approximately just five months in the market following reports of deaths in hospitals throughout the US.

Plaintiffs have accused the defendants of deceptive marketing practices, such as promoting E-Ferol as a vitamin supplement instead of a drug and giving hospitals and giving doctors the impression that the drug was FDA-approved. Carter-Glogau Laboratories and Jones & Feldman Pharmaceuticals have said that there weren’t many laws regulating vitamins back then. The two companies haven’t been in business for nearly 20 years.

In addition to the babies that died, dozens of infants that were given the drug ended up with kidney damage, blindness, brain damage, and liver damage. The symptoms became known as “E-Ferol syndrome.”

According to the CDC, about 89 hospitals administered E-Ferol to babies. While some of them willingly notified parents that they’d given their children the supplement, others were not as forthcoming and had to be legally forced to disclose this information. Many plaintiffs didn’t even know that their children had received E-Ferol until they found out about the dangerous rug lawsuit.

The class action case was brought on behalf of anyone who was administered E-Ferol between November 1, 1983 and April 30, 1984. Heirs of victims, the estates of those that died, parents of 42 babies who died, and adults that received the vitamin supplement as infants were among the plaintiffs. The defendants’ liability insurance will cover the settlement.

Hundreds of other dangerous drug lawsuits and wrongful death complaints have been filed over the injuries that were sustained by babies who were given E-Ferol.

Dangerous Drugs
Unfortunately, there are drug manufacturers that continue to market and release dangerous drugs into the marketplace. Some of these pharmaceutical companies are trusted names in the industry. You may have grounds for filing a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit seeking damages for personal injury, products liability, or wrongful death.

Maker of E-Ferol ordered to pay $110 million settlement in deaths of babies, Star-Telegram, April 10, 2010

Settlement Reached in E-Ferol Case, Consumer Affairs, April 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Three jailed for selling drug that killed 38 babies, FDA Consumer/Findarticles.com, July – August 1989

The Tragic Case History of Intravenous Vitamin E, The New York Times, May 27, 1984

Dangerous Drug?: Darvon Pulled from Market Over Concerns It May Cause Potentially Fatal Heart Rhythms

April 1, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals is pulling the painkiller Darvon off the market. The Food and Drug Administration issued the ban over concerns that it causes potentially fatal heart rhythms. The FDA is also banning related brand Darvocet and wants drug manufacturers to stop marketing low-cost drugs that contain propoxyphene, which is the active ingredient in Darvon. Current Darvon users, however, are being directed keep using the drug until a replacement medication can be prescribed.

Darvon is an opioid narcotic that is prescribed for moderate to mild pain. Last year, about 10 million people were given prescriptions for Darvon and related drugs. However, the popular medication has been plagued with safety concerns for decades. Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, which blames Darvon for several hundred deaths a year, has been pressing the FDA for a ban. Darvon has already been banned in Great Britain and the European Union following numerous suicides and accidental drug overdoses.

In January 2009, the FDA decided to keep the drug in the market but to include a stronger warning label with overdose risks. It wasn’t until a recent study showing that Darvon can cause fatal irregular heart rhythms that the federal agency finally told Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals to stop making the drug.

Dangerous Drugs
Medication prescribed to you by your doctor is not supposed to cause serious injury or death. Any potential side effects and health risks should be included in a warning to users. Unfortunately, some drugs make it into the market with FDA-approval and later prove to be more dangerous than previously thought. You may have grounds for a North Carolina dangerous drug case.

Other common side effects that have been linked to dangerous dugs:
• Birth defects
• Heart attack
• Kidney failure
• Psychological problems
• Stevens Johnson Syndrome
• Death

Our Charlotte, North Carolina dangerous drug lawyers represent clients who have suffered serious health issues or who have lost loved ones because they took a prescription drug or over-the-counter medication that caused serious injury, illness, or death.

Darvon painkiller pulled off market due to heart risks, USA Today, November 21, 2010

Popular painkillers taken off the market, Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Food and Drug Administration

Darvon, National Center for Biotechnology Information

Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals

Winston-Salem Man Plans to File Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Against GlaxoSmithKline Over Poligrip-Related Injuries

February 2, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Winston-Salem man says he is going to sue GlaxoSmithKline for North Carolina personal injuries that he claims he sustained from using Poligrip. Johnny Howell, 53, says he started exhibiting signs of zinc poisoning in 2004, 15 years after he started using the denture cream.

It wasn’t until last year that Howell found out what was causing his disease. He says that even after receiving treatment for his condition, he has problems walking and experiences weakness and numbness in his legs. Due to a number of fall accidents, Howell broke an ankle and a rib. He must now use a walker and is unable to drive. Howell also lost his job working as a mechanic and receives disability.

While humans need zinc, too much of it can lead to calcium deficiencies, bone loss, anemia, and nerve damage, which can become permanent if excessive consumption of zinc goes on for too long. Howell is not the only person who has sustained injuries from using denture cream. There are dozens of people who say their nerve damage was caused by using Poligrip or Fixodent, which is made by Proctor & Gamble. Considering that about 40 million Americans use adhesives to keep their dentures in place, the health risk link is cause for concern.

Although the American Dental Association says it doesn’t know of any cases confirming that nerve damage is caused by dental glue, an article published in “Neurology” in 2008 linked high levels of zinc in Super Poligrip to “profound neurological disease” in patients that were examined.

GlaxoSmithKline just recently started including a warning with its Super Poligrip denture cream noting that too much zinc may cause health issues. Newsinferno.com reports that there are already scores of people that have been damaged by using denture creams and have filed their dangerous drug lawsuits.

Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
Drug manufacturers are supposed to make products that are safe for people to use. When an over-the-counter product or a prescription drug leads to dangerous side effects that a pharmaceutical company failed to warn against, those who were injured as a result may be able to obtain personal injury damages by filing a North Carolina dangerous drug lawsuit.

Zinc in denture adhesives blamed for nerve damage, Reporter News, January 18, 2010

North Carolina Man Says Poligrip Left Him Disabled, Plans Lawsuit, NewsInferno, February 3, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Poligrip, GlaxoSmithKline

Zinc poisoning, Medline Plus

American Dental Association

 
 

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