The Purdue Pharma lawsuit and undisclosed information

Opioids are much in the news these days, and one of those is a bestseller called OxyContin, a painkiller that pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma LP manufactures and sells.

The state of Kentucky brought a civil suit against the company. Here are the reasons behind the court action and how the parties eventually settled the case.

OxyContin defined

This is a powerful prescription painkiller that, once taken, distributes its contents on a timed-release basis over a period of 12 hours. A good selling point has been that people needed to take fewer pills daily compared to other types of pain medication. However, addicts found that they could crush the pills and snort or inject the drug for an immediate high.

Prescription drug abuse in coal country

Kentucky accused the pharmaceutical company of responsibility in creating addiction on a large scale, especially in the eastern part of the state. Health care providers prescribed the drug for many injured Kentucky coal miners, and addiction plus high medical costs became major issues.

The legal case was based on the contention that Purdue Pharma salespeople misled doctors and other health professionals by convincing them that it was difficult to abuse OxyContin and that it was not as addictive as other opioids. The state went on to accuse the pharmaceutical company of hiding information about the dangers of the drug. The 12 charges included false advertising and Medicaid fraud.

How it ended

Kentucky legal action against Purdue Pharma began in 2007, and it appeared to be an uphill battle: The multibillion-dollar company had been successful in obtaining dismissals for hundreds of personal injury lawsuits and defeating many class-action efforts. Nevertheless, in 2015, Purdue Pharma settled, agreeing to pay $24 million to the state of Kentucky over the course of eight years.

New rules

The legal community has found that it is not uncommon for pharmaceutical companies to keep mum about the possible side effects of the prescription drugs they manufacture. Legislators are establishing new regulations for both the distribution of opioids through pharmacies and the patients for whom they are prescribed, who may not realize just how dangerous drugs like OxyContin can be.

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How to know if your medical device is defective

Your medical device, whether a hip replacement or IUD, should help you, not harm you. Yet every year, the number of major adverse complications from medical devices continues to rise, notes The Expert Institute. These consequences include hospitalization, disability and death.

You may think that with such serious side effects, it would be easy to know if your medical device is defective or a health risk. However, the bad news is that signs of damage do not always present themselves right away. Be aware of how to recognize an unsafe device so you can know when you need to seek medical attention and take legal action.

Health symptoms

The most obvious sign is experiencing harm to your health. The device may fail, damage your organs, lead to an infection or cause severe pain. You may have an immediate reaction, or the device may slowly cause internal damage that does not manifest itself for years. It is important to keep track of health changes once you begin using a medical device and to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.

Notice of recall from manufacturer

Often, manufacturers inform consumers on their own about the risks and complications of their products. The manufacturer may recall a whole product line even if only a few are problematic. Some remedies in a recall include getting an examination, repair or replacement of the device. The type of defect and the product classification (how risky it is) will determine the appropriate response.

FDA recall database

When a company begins the recall process, the FDA joins in to assess the company’s plan and the risk of the recall. It also adds the recall to its database so you can stay informed on what devices are or may be dangerous. This information is useful not only for medical devices you currently have but also for avoiding the use of high-risk ones in the future.

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Signs your pacemaker is not working properly

Having a pacemaker inserted into your chest cavity is a very stressful time in life. It can happen to just about anyone no matter their age or level of health. It is scary because it means the device is needed to maintain the way your heart pumps. It’s quite possible that the pacemaker can fail, even if it is a newer model recently inserted. Here are some signs to be on the lookout for regarding your pacemaker.

Some of the most common warnings signs that your pacemaker might be failing include the following:

  • Frequent hiccups that are difficult to control
  • Fast or slow heart rate. Also a combination of both
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle twitching in abdomen or chest on a fairly constant basis
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fainting

It is rare for a pacemaker to fail completely, but it is still possible. For the most part, when a pacemaker begins to falter, This is because it needs to be reprogrammed. Some other reasons for a pacemaker to fail, or suffer issues, include the following:

  • Lead in pacemaker is pulled from its position
  • Failure of an electronic circuit
  • Depletion of the battery
  • Change in personal health condition that requires reprogramming of pacemaker
  • Broken or loose wire located between your heart and the device
  • High potassium found in your blood
  • Interference from other electronic devices

Patients rely on medical devices to keep them in good health and alive. When these devices fail, patients can see their health deteriorate. Consult with an experienced defective medical devices attorney in Kingsport about your case.

Source: Hawkins Bingham & Miller, “An Overview Of Defective Medical Device Claims,” accessed

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This little red pill is harming nursing home residents

Nursing home residents are facing aggressive treatment with dangerous effects. According to a CNN investigation, a drug called Nuedexta is inappropriately prescribed to elderly patients. This pharmaceutical drug is unsafe and unnecessary in many cases.

So what is Nuedexta meant to treat? Why is it potentially harmful? Read below for more information about this over-prescribed little red pill.

Approved use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Nuedexta to treat a mental disorder called pseudobulbar affect, characterized by uncontrollable laughter or crying. PBA is often triggered by conditions that impact the brain, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or ALS. Less than 1 percent of Americans have this condition.

Inappropriate use

The drug is seeing skyrocketing financial success due to an aggressive sales force pumping it into long-term care facilities. This is despite the fact there have been very limited studies on the effects of the drug on elderly patients. In fact, it can be harmful to patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Dangerous side effects

According to reports by the FDA itself, a link between Nuedexta and the following dangerous consequences is possible:

  • 51 deaths
  • 113 hospitalizations
  • 101 instances of confusion, dizziness and falls
  • 102 instances of sleepiness and sedation

Other common side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and swelling in the feet, hands or ankles. Serious side effects include easy bruising, muscle spasms, dark urine, abdominal pain, chest pain and yellowing eyes. There are also concerns about potential interactions. A medication with such little research can have very adverse effects in elderly patients who are already prescribed other medications.

Many doctors who prescribe Nuedexta receive payments or other compensation from the drug manufacturer. There are also paid speakers at nursing homes advocating for the drug. This is all devastating news for those with loved ones in nursing homes or patients themselves. If Nuedexta has harmed you or a loved one, contact a personal injury lawyer.

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Signs your hip replacement device is failing

Hip replacement devices are meant to improve your quality of life, not make it worse. For many, hip replacement surgery does not end well. Not long after going through recovery patients notice issued with their replacement device. Here are the common signs that show possible hip replacement device failure in Tennessee.

The most common signs that your hip replacement is failing include the following:

  • A feeling that the hip joint has become dislocated
  • Pain when moving or walking
  • Lumps near the hip where the device is installed
  • Swelling in the groin area or on the hip
  • Popping or squeaking noises when walking

You can also determine if your hip replacement is failing by having a blood test performed. A doctor will test your blood for abnormal levels of cobalt or chromium in your bloodstream. If there are elevated levels of these, it’s possible that the replacement hip is wearing down. You could suffer from blurry vision, organ damage and dizziness if these elevated levels are found.

Other tests that doctors can perform to determine if your hip replacement is failing include an MRI, an ultrasound and a physical assessment. Even if you have not experienced any pain or symptoms, you should be evaluated regularly if you have received a hip replacement. Regular evaluation will help discover any issues that could be present.

Has your hip replacement device failed? If so, visit our site to learn about defective medical devices in Kingsport and how an experienced attorney can help your case move forward in the legal system.

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Key factors in a defective medical device claim

Medical devices should assist individuals with living better lives, but what happens when they cause further injury or impairment? In such instances, it may be possible to file a defective medical device claim.

If you or a loved one faces injuries due to a defective medical device, you deserve just compensation. Make sure that you build the best case possible by understanding a few key factors in any defective medical device claim.

Classification

Some cases teeter the line between a defective medical device case and a medical malpractice case. It is critical that you know the difference so you may properly classify your claim. In short, a defective medical device is a device with a design or manufacturing defect. If a device does not denote proper warnings about side effects or risks, it may receive a defective classification as well. On the other hand, if the injury is due to the improper use or placement of the device, it may be a medical malpractice case.

Regulation

The FDA regulates medical device safety. The organization provides standards and procedures with which companies must comply. If a party can show that a manufacturer did not follow the FDA guidelines and stipulations, it may greatly benefit the case. However, even if a company does abide by the FDA’s rules, it does not get them completely off the hook either. Working with a knowledgeable attorney may help you in building a solid case no matter where the manufacturer or seller stands.

Statute of limitations

As with a regular personal injury case, individuals must file their claims within a set time limit according to the state’s statute of limitations. However, considering that individuals may not be aware of the injury right away, Tennessee applies the discovery rule, which generally states that the time limit does not begin until the individual becomes aware of the injury or illness.

These are just a few of the key factors in a defective medical device claim. If you are considering such a case, take some time to fully understand the process and determine the best route for you.

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