It seems there are new class action suits against pharmaceutical companies every day. Most of the biggest claims throughout history have affected thousands of people and caused life-altering affects they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Here are some of the most prominent drug injury lawsuits in the U.S:
American Home Products Corporation – Fen-Phen Diet Pill
In the 1990s, a popular diet pill was on the market called fen-phen. In 1996, doctors throughout the country wrote as many as 18 million prescriptions for drugs containing fen-phen. Later on, the FDA linked the drug to heart valve issues, and the medications were taken out of circulation. In subsequent lawsuits, the parent company agreed to pay $3.75 billion to people injured while taking the pill.
Bayer – Yasmin Birth Control
Before 2012, the birth control pill Yasmin was marketed on television on many popular channels. The pill’s advertising information unfairly exaggerated the effects of the pill to reduce acne symptoms while failing to recognize the serious side effects. In 2012, Bayer settled 500 lawsuits against the company by individuals who had experienced dangerous blood clots while taking the medicine. Bayer paid $110 million.
Pfizer – Prempro Menopause Drug
Prempro was a commonly prescribed hormone-replacement drug used in menopausal women. Sometime after the drug was released in the marketplace, lawsuits started to pop up claiming the drug caused breast cancer in its takers. In 2012, Pfizer settled roughly 6,000 lawsuits against the company for $896 million. It was estimated that the company paid roughly $150,000 per individual affected in the case.
Merck – Vioxx Anti-Inflammatory Drug
The anti-inflammatory drug lawsuits started popping up after a widow brought a lawsuit against the company claiming her husband’s fatal heart attack was caused by the drug, which he had started a month before he died. In the case, the courts decided the company had failed to warn users about the side effects of the drugs adequately. By 2008, Merck had paid $4.85 billion to settle 50,000 claims that the drug led to a significantly increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
GlaxoSmithKline – Avandia Diabetes Drug
The FDA determined the diabetes drug was linked to around 100,000 heart attacks. The drug is responsible for a 43% risk increase for heart attack and can lead to heart failure. Those affected by the side effects claimed the pharmaceutical company failed to adequately warn users about the risk they faced taking the drug. 2010 the company settled around 10,000 lawsuits over the drug for $460 million.
Today, high-profile cases are ongoing. Just a few of the major cases being presented against pharmaceutical companies include:
Lipitor. Claimants are alleging the cholesterol maintenance drug increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Victoza. Claimants believe this medicine, used to treat type 2 diabetes, has not adequately addressed the link between the drug, the risk of pancreatitis, and the possibility of cancer.
Xarelto. The anticoagulant drug may be causing an increased risk of bleeding events. Issues like hemorrhages, stroke, and pulmonary embolism have been reported.
Individuals taking prescription drugs should review the side effects carefully before agreeing to take the medication. If any unusual or severe side effects occur, they should address them with medical providers and consider consulting a prescription drug injury attorney. There is often a fine line between legally condoned side effects and those patients are unaware of when they begin taking the drug. A medication not appropriately documented for causing certain side effects may require further legal action.