Our firm represents a Florida woman who suffered congestive heart failure (CHF), resulting in a heart valve replacement. We filed suit on her behalf against the makers and distributors of the drug Permax (generically known as pergolide mesylate). Permax was used to manage tremors and slowness of movement associated with Parkinson’s disease or Restless Leg Syndrome. During the entire time that Permax was on the market, various drug companies have been responsible for manufacturing or promoting the drug, including Eli Lilly & Company, Athena Neurosciences, Elan Pharmaceuticals, Amarin Pharmaceuticals, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The makers of the generic versions of the drug were Par, Teva, and Ivax Pharmaceuticals, respectively. On March 27, 2007, Permax was removed from the market because of the risk of serious damage to patients’ mitral, aortic, and tricuspid heart valves.
The drug companies mentioned above defectively manufactured and sold Permax despite their knowledge of the risks associated with the drug. After taking Permax consistently for over four years, our client developed CHF, which led to a mitral valve replacement. She also developed severe tricuspid regurgitation due to her ingestion of the drug.
Early studies reviewing the side effects of Permax revealed that this drug was linked to an increased risk of valvular heart disease. Subsequent studies confirmed that patients taking Permax were 7.1 times more likely to develop heart damage, compared to patients taking other alternative drugs. The medical studies and scientific literature were consistent with the injuries that our client sustained and demonstrate that these drug companies knew or reasonably should have known of the increased risk of valvular heart disease associated with Permax. Consequently, proper and adequate warnings of that risk were not provided to our client, her doctors or the medical community by these drug companies.
The suit, filed in a Florida state court, is one of a number of cases that have been filed around the country alleging similar facts and injuries against the makers of Permax. The drug companies have taken the position in the lawsuit that they are not responsible for her injuries and have filed motions to dismiss her claims. This suit also is typical of other lawsuits where patients were injured by prescription drugs that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but later had to be later removed from the market because of the danger the drugs posed to the public. Navan Ward, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, is the lead lawyer in the Florida case. I, along with Andy Birchfield, will also be involved in the case.
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