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Hernia mesh is a surgical product used to repair hernias. The screen-like material goes under or over the weakness, or it can act as a plug. Unfortunately, surgical mesh has been linked to serious, life-threatening complications. The most common risks associated with hernia mesh implantation are perforation, infection, and adhesion. Many of these devices contain polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly used in medical products. However, according to the Polypropylene Material Data Safety Sheet, permanent implantation is listed under “prohibited uses.” As hernia mesh is intended to be a permanent product, this statement has raised many questions.

FDA Warning

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released on article on the dangers of hernia mesh implants.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants, alleging that claimants suffered painful, debilitating complications from the devices. DePuy’s ASR and Pinnacle models are the focus of most lawsuits, with DePuy’s costs estimated at around $4 billion and growing. The cases involving the two models were recently consolidated into separate multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. Thousands more remain in pending status. If you experienced severe pain or medical complications after receiving a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Complications Associated with Metal Hip Implants

Hip replacement surgery is one of the greatest medical innovations in decades. Millions of people have been able to improve their quality of life as a result. Unfortunately, as with all medical procedures and devices, hip implants come with risks. But some of these risks may be the result of defective design and failure to warn physicians and patients of associated complications. Risks include:

  • Blood clots
  • Metallosis
  • Infection
  • Bone fracture
  • Death

Metallosis

One of the main concerns with metal-on-metal hip implants is the debris that may be released into the body when metal components rub against one another. When this occurs, a condition called metallosis can result. This dangerous condition is caused by a buildup of metal debris in the body’s soft tissue. The effects of metallosis can be quite dangerous, resulting in death of the surrounding tissue and potential blood poisoning. If cobalt, titanium, or chromium ions are released into the bloodstream, toxicity, inflammation, and even cancer can result. Metallosis can also cause:

  • Failure of the implant
  • Joint pain
  • Tissue death
  • Bone deterioration
  • Blood poisoning
  • Toxicity
  • Formation of pseudotumors or cysts
  • The need for revision surgery.

Nearly 35 percent of retrieved hip implants have notable corrosion and other types of damage. Bone fractures, joint dislocations, improperly positioned components, infection, defective stem designs, and poor cementing techniques may contribute to the loosening of stem components and the need for a revision surgery. Unfortunately, revision surgery is a difficult, painful, and longer process than the initial hip replacement. Thigh and / or knee pain are usually the first indicators of a complication with a hip replacement. If you are experiencing any complications after receiving a hip replacement, contact your health care provider immediately.

DePuy Settlements Top $4 Billion

Plaintiffs in both MDL cases and pending cases allege that the medical devices had design defects and that DePuy knew about the risks but failed to adequately warn physicians and patients. In 2013, DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, agreed to a settlement in cases involving people injured by the manufacturer’s ASR models. At that time, the company set aside approximately $4 billion to settle the claims. Last year, the manufacturer agreed to an additional settlement of $420 million. If a defective or dangerous medical device has caused you harm, contact a MA defective medical device law firm today. Continue reading

On the surface, a power morcellator is an intriguing and seemingly fantastic showcase of modern medical technology. The drill-like device is able to perform laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomies and myomectomies, without being overly invasive, requiring a less than two centimeter incision, and reduces the patient’s recovery time and post-operative pain drastically.

A morcellator works by cutting large chunks of tissue, such as a uterus, into smaller chunks and then using suction to vacuum the flesh out of the body via its long tubular attachment. A majority of the devices were manufactured and distributed under the Johnson & Johnson umbrella through their subsidiary company, Ethicon.

Power morcellators may cause cancer

The popular heartburn medication Nexium, released by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in 2001, has been used by millions around the globe to treat their chronic heartburn with relatively few side effects. Minor side effects include dry mouth, headaches and minor abdominal pain, which are certainly manageable.

However, more severe side effects have come to light in thousands of patients, side effects undisclosed by AstraZeneca and not mentioned on Nexium’s list of side effect, and hundreds of these patients have filed lawsuits seeking financial compensation for their pain and suffering as a result.

Serious side effects include…

Lipitor has the distinction of being the best-selling prescription medication of all time. Manufactured by pharmaceutical titan company, Pfizer, Lipitor is prescribed to help treat high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. There is no doubt that Lipitor has helped millions of people since it was approved by the FDA in 1996.

However, recent studies have linked Lipitor to an increased risk of developing another serious disease: type 2 diabetes. In 2012, the FDA released a warning that cholesterol-reducing statin drugs, such as Lipitor, could elevate blood sugar levels in those who take it and lead to diabetes. Pfizer was ordered to add this warning on the Lipitor label.

This warning did not help people who had already developed diabetes while taking Lipitor, and it has led to lawsuits regarding inadequate warnings and a decreased quality of life as a result of this failure to warn consumers about all the potential risks.

About Lipitor

Lipitor is a prescription medication known as a “statin” drug, which means it works with the body to help stop the liver from producing too much “bad” cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and blood clots (which can lead to strokes).

Lipitor was first approved by the FDA in 1996, and by 2012 had made over $130 billion in sales. Doctors continue to prescribe Lipitor and other statin medications today because of their proven track record of helping reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

However, there are other risks associated with statin medication, including muscle damage, memory loss and the aforementioned risk of developing diabetes. Doctors are less inclined to direct a patient to stop taking statin medication because of the former two symptoms (since heart disease and strokes are much more serious afflictions), but developing diabetes is obviously problematic also, so good awareness and consistent checkups and blood sugar testing should be standard when taking these medications.

If you developed diabetes while on Lipitor

You may have a good case for financial recompense if you developed type 2 diabetes while taking Lipitor prior to 2012. Whether or not it was known to Pfizer prior to the FDA demanding they place a warning on their bottles of Lipitor, it is still unacceptable that it took so long to find this link between Lipitor and another very serious disease.

Diabetes has life-altering effects on those who are diagnosed, including costly medical appointments, possible dialysis and surgeries, not to mention a complete change in lifestyle in order to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels. Further risks of diabetes include blindness, neuropathy and deadly kidney disease.

Hundreds of lawsuits regarding Lipitor and diabetes have been filed across the country, and the legal professionals at Altman & Altman LLP have the expertise to figure out the appropriate course of action if you or a loved one was diagnosed with diabetes as a result of taking Lipitor or other statin medications.

There are grounds for lawsuits based on negligence, failing to monitor the safety of a prescription medication, misleading consumers of the risks of a medication, inadequately labeling a prescription medication and ignoring potential risks of a prescription medication. Continue reading

The popular heartburn medication Nexium, released by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in 2001, has been used by millions around the globe to treat their chronic heartburn with relatively few side effects. Minor side effects include dry mouth, headaches and minor abdominal pain, which are certainly manageable.

However, more severe side effects have come to light in thousands of patients, side effects undisclosed by AstraZeneca and not mentioned on Nexium’s list of side effect, and hundreds of these patients have filed lawsuits seeking financial compensation for their pain and suffering as a result.

Serious side effects include…

It has been revealed that Nexium can lead to severe kidney complications and even accelerated dementia in its patients. Lawsuits stemming from kidney damage have been filed against AstraZeneca as far back as 2004, and yet they have continued to release the product without mentioning the potential risk of kidney damage. On Nexium’s own website, there is no mention of these well-established risks.

Three studies from 2015 and 2016 showed evidence that patients who were currently taking Nexium were twice as likely to sustain an acute kidney injury, that patients had a 20 to 50 percent higher chance of developing chronic kidney disease, and that patients taking Nexium had a 44 percent higher risk of developing dementia.

Clearly, the risks are not insignificant. These side effects are not only dangerous to a person’s overall health and wellbeing, they can be incredibly costly as well.

Kidney disease sufferers may need to undergo dialysis, transplants or grafts, and will likely maintain consistent hospital visits throughout the rest of their lives to keep an eye on their condition. Kidney failure accounts for about $42.5 billion annually in private and Medicare costs according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Sufferers of dementia can lose their independence, their job, and more, as they may need to be moved into an expensive assisted living facility. Dementia can be extremely painful for both the individual and their families to go through, not to mention the fact that the average assisted living care facility can cost upwards of $70,000 or more per year.

History of legal action

Hundreds of patients who have been negatively affected by Nexium have sought financial recompense as a result of their pain and suffering, both individually and as a group through class action lawsuits. AstraZeneca has been sued over the past decade for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and product defects.

Three of these class actions suits were settled in 2015. One ended with a $24 million settlement, another ended with a $20 million settlement, and the last one settled for $7.9 million. More lawsuits are cropping up in recent years with yet another allegation – that Nexium causes bone density loss leading to an increased risk of bone fractures. Continue reading

Following a rash of serious medical complications allegedly caused by defective artificial hip implants, DePuy Orthopedics has been ordered to pay more than $1 billion. A federal jury in Dallas found the company, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, negligent in its failure to adequately warn physicians and patients about the risks associated with their product’s defective design.

At least six patients had to undergo revision surgery to replace the defective implants with a properly-functioning implant and / or to repair damage to the tissue and bone. The Dallas jury awarded more than $30 million in damages to the six patients and more than $1 billion in punitive damages. The jury made the following ruling:

  • J&J and DePuy were negligent in their design of the implant
  • They failed to warn patients and doctors about known risks
  • They failed to recall the product when defects were discovered
  • They intentionally misrepresented the effectiveness of the product to both doctors and patients

If you have been harmed due to a DePuy hip implant, contact a Boston defective medical product attorney today.

Johnson & Johnson Appeals the Verdict

Following the verdict, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy announced that they will appeal the decision, denying any wrongdoing. “We have no greater responsibility than to the patients who use our products, and our goal is to create medical innovations that help people live more active and comfortable lives,” said DePuy spokeswoman Mindy Tinsley. “DePuy acted appropriately and responsibly in the design and testing of ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal, and the product is backed by a strong track record of clinical data showing reduced pain and restored mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain.”

Fourth Trial Scheduled for September 2017

This trial was the third bellwether trial for thousands of similar lawsuits. Earlier this year, a jury – also in Dallas – awarded more than $500 million in damages to a group who suffered medical complications from DePuy implants. However, the award was later reduced to $154 million. The companies are also appealing the reduced ruling in that case. The first trial, which took place in 2014, was decided in favor of J&J and DePuy. A fourth trial is on the horizon, scheduled for September 2017. If you have been injured due to a DePuy artificial hip implant, or any other type of defective medical product, contact a Boston injury attorney today.

Risks Associated with DePuy Hip Implants

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against DePuy for medical complications arising from defective hip implants. The most commonly cited complications include:

  • Bone fractures – in many cases the bones surrounding the hip implant have weakened, resulting in fractures
  • Metallosis – this condition occurs when metal fragments release toxins into the body
  • Pseudotumors – the formation of tumor-like deposits have adhered to joints in some patients
  • Necrosis – the death of bone and tissue due to metallosis has been cited in multiple lawsuits
  • Revision surgery – due to defective implants, bone erosion, and tissue damage, thousands of patients have required revision surgery to replace implants and repair damage

Continue reading

Since being approved in October of 2010, the prescription blood thinning drug, Pradaxa, has established itself as an upgrade to warfarin because it performed the same functions while also preventing strokes. Other competitors to warfarin, such as Xarelto, have also come onto the market.  While these drugs netted gigantic profits for their manufacturers and were used by millions of patients, it has been revealed over time that these drugs can pose a serious, and deadly, risk to certain types of people. In May of 2014 alone, Boehringer Ingelheim, the German manufacturer of Pradaxa, settled more than 4,000 lawsuits for a combined amount of $650 million.

Just two years after its introduction, Pradaxa was blamed for over 500 deaths stemming from uncontrollable bleeding and internal hemorrhaging. The aforementioned settlement came under the condition that Boehringer Ingelheim would have to admit to no fault regarding the deaths, stating that the benefits of the drug far outweighed the negative side effects.  While the benefits of the drug are certainly evident, should thousands of lawsuits and hundreds of deaths prompt, at the very least, more research, development, and awareness campaigns to ensure that the wrong people don’t take the drug and wind up in dire straits? Pradaxa costs about $3,000 a year and made $209 million in sales just in the first quarter of 2012, so it is not an issue of not having enough money.

What is Pradaxa?

Taxotere is a chemotherapy drug that treats patients by killing cancer cells, especially those of the breast, lungs, stomach, prostate, neck, and head. In addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs also kill hair follicles. As such, hair loss is a well-known side effect of chemotherapy treatment. However, with most cancer-killing drugs, the expectation is that the hair will grow back once treatment has stopped. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for many patients who have used Taxotere.  In one recent study, researchers found that permanent hair loss has occurred in 9.2 percent of women using Taxotere. The manufacturer, Sanofi-Aventis, had different results, claiming that only 3 percent of patients experience permanent hair loss. Women being treated for breast cancer account for the majority of the permanent hair loss cases linked to Taxotere.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added warnings about permanent alopecia (hair loss) to the drug’s label in 2015.

Failure to Warn

There are more than 2.8 million women who have, or have had, breast cancer currently living in the United States. Recent estimates reveal that about 75 percent of those women may have been given a prescription for Taxotere. Fighting cancer can take a serious emotional and physical toll on a woman’s body. Adding permanent hair loss to an already difficult and painful situation can be devastating. Taxotere is currently under investigation for its failure to warn physicians and patients about the link to permanent hair loss. Living with permanent hair loss after battling cancer can be a constant reminder of something you just want to forget. If you have suffered chemo-induced alopecia after taking Taxotere, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.

Earlier this year, all Taxotere lawsuits alleging permanent alopecia were ordered to be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Louisiana. There are currently at least 33 pending federal complaints that accuse Sanofi-Aventis of continuing to market Taxotere as a superior alternative to other chemotherapy medications, despite knowing that the drug was linked to permanent hair loss.

In 2014, researchers at the National Cancer Conference made the following statement: “Long term significant scalp alopecia (here lasting for up to 3.5 years following completion of chemotherapy) may affect 10-15% of patients following docetaxel for EBC [early breast cancer]. This appears to be unrelated to other patient and treatment characteristics.” With 9.2 percent of women experiencing permanent hair loss, and up to 15 percent experiencing long-term significant hair loss, there is obvious cause for concern. If you have suffered hair loss after taking Taxotere, contact a Boston injury lawyer today. Continue reading

The FDA has warned that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Levaquin and Cipro, are linked to serious, potentially permanent medical conditions. According to reports, manufacturers of these drugs knew about the risks but failed to properly warn physicians and patients. As a result, many lawsuits have been filed. If you are experiencing painful or debilitating side effects after taking a fluoroquinolone, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

What is a Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic?

Fluoroquinolones belong to a family of synthetic antibiotics, which kill bacteria by interfering with the replication of DNA. The types of fluoroquinolones on the market are:

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin/Quixin)
  • Ofloxacin (Ocuflox/Floxin/Floxacin)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Gatifloxacin (Tequin)

Hospitals routinely use fluoroquinolones for treating opportunistic infections in patients. However, frequent or routine use of this type of antibiotic can have harmful side effects, including tendon damage and nerve damage. According to the FDA, fluoroquinolones should only be used when no other options are available. In addition, physicians should notify patients of the associated risks prior to administering the medication. Considering that most fluoroquinolones are distributed by a pharmacy and that pharmacies are required to provide notification of side effects, the manufacturers are usually held liable when harmful side effects develop. If you are suffering from side effects after taking a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.

Side Effects Linked to Fluoroquinolones

The fluoroquinolone family is linked to multiple side effects, but the most commonly-cited serious side effects include:

  • Nervous system problems, including a condition called peripheral neuropathy, pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, headaches, loss of memory, loss of concentration, and anxiety.
  • Musculoskeletal problems, including tendonitis, tendon ruptures, tendon weakness, and swelling of the joints.
  • Sensory symptoms, including problems with hearing, sight, and smell.
  • Cardiovascular problems, including chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath.
  • Skin problems, including rashes, intolerance to heat or cold, and excessive sweating.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain.

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