Lawsuits based on personal injury get no respect in some circles: the people suing (the plaintiffs who have been hurt or had loved ones seriously injured) are considered opportunistic and their personal injury lawyers (the attorneys who work on a contingent fee) are viewed as greedy. You’ve read the tort reform arguments; no need to reiterate them here.
However, consider the following — issues that have appeared in the news just this week regarding dangerous products marketed on TV and magazines and the web as being safe, helpful, even life-saving, to the American public. It’s because of product dangers like these that products liability lawsuits exist. They are needed to help individuals who have been injured or killed by bad products. They serve justice.
1. Lawsuits filed against AstraZeneca alleging Nexium caused bone deterioration and broken bones.
Down in Houston, Texas, Mary Mai Nguyen and Tuoc Duong have sued drug manufacturer AstraZeneca because they argue that the heavily advertised heartburn medication, Nexium, has resulted in their bones deteriorating and actually breaking — which they believe would not have happened if the drug company had done enough research before selling this stuff, or if they had been warned about this being a possible side effect. This summer, a similar lawsuit was filed in Texas by 35 different plaintiffs, also alleging that Nexium caused broken bones and bone loss; and the news media has been reporting on the risk of Nexium (and other heartburn pills) damaging bones and causing things like hip fractures for almost five years now.
Get this: Nexium not only is AstraZeneca’s best selling prescription drug: Nexium is the NUMBER ONE best-selling prescription drug on the planet (2010 figures). The drug company literally makes billions of dollars each year on these pills: think they will shut that pipeline down without a fight?
2. Wrongful Death Cases Being Filed After 1-800-GET-THIN LapBand Surgery
Over in sunny Southern California, where all the beautiful people live, seems there were outpatient clinics advertising lap band weight loss surgery at 1-800-GET-THIN, and now over 5 wrongful death actions have been filed based upon what these clinics were doing to their patients, as people started dying back in 2009.
Already, it’s alleged that the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing ads did not warn anyone of the risks of the lap-band surgery. And there are lots of them, even in the best of situations. Consider this: in March, ABC News reported that over half of the lap bands placed during surgery have to be removed. Half of them.
In the latest California lap band lawsuit making the news, there are also allegations that one of the physicians doing these lap-band surgeries was being investigated by the California Medical Board, and another one of the doctors was actually on probation while doing the surgeries. (This may add medical negligence arguments to the standard products liability case.) The doctors, of course, are denying they did anything wrong.
3. Kids May Gain Weight and Get Diabetes After Taking Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal, or Abilify.
Expect lawsuits soon in this situation: last week, a panel of experts recommended to the Food and Drug Administration that a watchful eye be kept on antipsychotics being given to children, and that better warnings of the risks involved be given on these drugs, specifically: Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify.
Seems these drugs not only can cause weight gain and diabetes in kids, they can impact their lifelong health in other bad ways, and the experts want the FDA to study the situation in more depth. Right now, these drugs are okay to be given to children as young as 2 years old for things like aggressive behavior, attention deficit disorder (ADD) along with various other psychological or behaviorial issues — but there is not research to back up doing this: there’s not proof that these drugs — Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify — work on kids, and there’s not proof that they don’t end up harming the children.