Could the Recent Meningitis Outbreak Lead to Litigation?

Pharmaceutical litigation most frequently occurs when drug companies fail to adequately test medications prior to release or fail to properly inform consumers of the potential side effects. In these cases, the drugs are manufactured properly but the drugs themselves are flawed. But pharmaceutical litigation can also occur when good drugs are improperly manufactured, resulting in sickness and injury to the people who use them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis that has been linked to a certain type of steroid injection. As of October 20, there have been 284 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis following steroid injections, with most cases occurring in Tennessee and Michigan, and at least one confirmed case in Illinois. This outbreak has led to 23 deaths. And because as many as 14,000 people may have received these injections, the numbers are expected to rise.

The steroid injections in question are not a new or novel treatment, as doctors frequently use similar injections to treat joint and back pain. In this particular case, however, a number of injections appear to have become contaminated with the fungus Exserohilum rostratum during the manufacturing process. The contaminated specimens have been traced to the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. Lawsuits in this matter will likely begin to appear once more information surfaces regarding how the vials became contaminated. In the meantime, the contaminated lots have been recalled as doctors work to contact patients who may have been exposed.

Latest News for Illinois Actos Cases

Actos® — or pioglitazone — is a drug designed to treat type 2 diabetes by making it easier to regulate blood sugar levels. But in August 2011, the FDA issued a warning regarding the drug, noting that it had been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Moreover, Actos may cause or worsen congestive heart failure, lead to lactic acidosis, increase risk of bone fractures, and react with other drugs.

Concerns regarding side effects of Actos have lead to widespread litigation throughout the country, with over 700 such lawsuits having been filed in Illinois state courts alone. Concerns regarding the efficient handling of these cases have led the Illinois Supreme Court to order all pending Actos litigation in Illinois state courts be consolidated in the Illinois Circuit Court for Cook County under the caption In re Actos Related Cases, No. 11 L 010011. The case was assigned to Judge Deborah Mary Dooling on December 9, 2011. Judge Dooling also presides over ongoing consolidated litigation concerning the DePuy ASR hip replacement. The case has continued to proceed smoothly, with counsel filing monthly status reports with the court as they continue to take depositions from claimants and other involved parties.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with bladder cancer while or after taking Actos, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries from the drug’s manufacturer. An experienced products liability attorney at Phillips Law Offices can advise you how the consolidated Actos litigation impacts you and what steps you should take to protect your rights.

Pradaxa Litigation Consolidated in Federal Court

Mass torts — cases in which a large number of individuals suffer harm due to a single instance of negligence — present numerous legal and administrative issues. In order to handle these cases quickly, efficiently and fairly, courts must be ready to adapt by creating systems that promote the uniform and equitable resolution of such claims. The current flood of Pradaxa® litigation is no exception.

Since the FDA issued its warning regarding Pradaxa bleeding risks in December of 2011, a flood of claims have flowed into federal courts across the nation from individual patients and their families who suffered harm due to the drug’s numerous side effects. More than 200 deaths have already been documented and Pradaxa lawyers expect as many as 500 more claims could surface in the near future. As a result, on August 8 the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all federal Pradaxa lawsuits consolidated into a single action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The Honorable Judge David Herndon presides over this case, entitled In re Pradaxa Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2385. A recent order issued by Judge Herndon notes that as of July 25, there were 36 substantially similar Pradaxa cases pending across 14 separate federal judicial districts.

If you or a family member has been injured by Pradaxa side effects, an experienced products liability lawyer at Phillips Law Offices can explain how this recent development affects your rights and what you need to do to start the process of receiving fair compensation.