Dangers of New Prescription Drugs

"Each year offers new examples of injuries and deaths caused by untoward dangers in prescription drugs. Prominent illustrations from recent years include Vioxx, a popular arthritis painkiller that more than doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes,6 a risk that lingered long after users stopped taking the drug;7 'Phen-fen,' a diet drug that caused heart damage;8 and Propulsid, a drug that reduced gastric acid but also threatened patients’ hearts.9 Once information on these side-effects became known to the public, the manufacturers of each of these drugs stopped selling them and, eventually, paid millions or billions of dollars to settle claims for resulting injuries.10 Merck, for example, having withdrawn the profitable Vioxx drug11 from the market in 2004, settled nearly 50,000 Vioxx cases in late 2007 for $4.85 billion.12 In 2009, Eli Lilly agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.415 billion in criminal and civil penalties for promoting its antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa, as suitable for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).13 These cases may be among the more prominent, but they represent just the tip of the iceberg of damage caused by prescription drugs."

Source: 

Owen, David G., "Dangers in Prescription Drugs: Filling a Private Law Gap in the Healthcare Debate," Connecticut Law Review (Hartford, CT: University of Connecticut School of Law, February 2010) Volume 42, Number 3, p. 737.
http://uconn.lawreviewnetwork....

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