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Has anyone considered suing a drug company?


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;) I have been reading about all these terrible side effects of some of the drugs we are taking, and the withdrawal symptoms that we have been having.  (Cymbalta and Effexor in particular)..............

Has anyone here considered suing the makers of these drugs?  Apparently, until just recently, the withdrawal problems have not been stated clearly on the drug information page we've been given.

I was just curious if anyone had considered this.  The more I read about Cymbalta, the more I wish I had the nerve to do that!

Beth

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As if I didn't already know better

I looked into

the Oxycontin

lawsuits

all big law firms

if you were not dying

they were not interested.

maybe on a smaller,local level

Remind me sometime

to tell you about suing

large corporations from

Texas.

Stasis

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I'm in some class action suit against the company that makes Remeron. Hell, I don't know why. I'd only get back 60.00 but money is money.

Zyprexa should have a suit as it can cause diabetes. That is kind of a big side effect. Bet they did'nt put it on the PI sheet.

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There was a multi-billion $$ settlement against Eli Lilly last month because of the Zyprexa/diabetes thing.  Google "zyprexa settlement" and you'll find a bazzilion lawyers trying to cash in on it.

As far as the discontinuation stuff goes, you'd be better off fliling suit against your physician for not warning you or somthing. It's in most of the PI literature so the big pharma as its ass covered.

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Exactly what VE said,  and the Docs ass is pretty much covered by the Pharmacy who is supposed to know more and warn/counsel you on any questions you may have or cross med effects!

So it is basically useless unless you have been permanently damaged and can prove it was negligence.

Been there tried to do it once, even with an Atty who wants to take it on, unless you can get in on a class action your chances are slim to none.

My problem was with an antibiotic, Floxin and no mention of side effects. It was even exposed in a Book called "Bitter Pill" and Donahue and Oprah did shows about it. I am still involved in followup through a group at Georgetown University.

Partly due to this drug, soon after the expose's, those PI sheets and pharmacies started their more diligent handing out of the info to cover everyone's asses. The law says if you are given the info and the chance to ask questions, you can't claim you didnt know. In other words it is up to you to research it. Sad state of affairs but that's how it is.

CC~

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Just for the record, if you look at the PI sheet it lists all of the possible side effects and also side effects from withdrawal. It has been my experience that they all tell you not to suddenly stop your medication with out your dr.'s consent. They are also VERY thorough on overinforming you about se's. In other words, they tell you every side effect that could be possible even if there is a 1/100,000 chance of you getting it. I always make sure I read the PI's. YOu can ask the pharm. for one. It tells you everything you never wanted to know. mel

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Kablume what's the lawsuit about for Remeron? My doctor is starting me on it on Monday. I haven't considered a lawsuit but if the big pharma companies get slapped with enough big money lawsuits then maybe they'll change their ways.

Lilie

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Kablume what's the lawsuit about for Remeron? My doctor is starting me on it on Monday. I haven't considered a lawsuit but if the big pharma companies get slapped with enough big money lawsuits then maybe they'll change their ways.

Lilie

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

http://www.remeronsettlement.com/remeron/default.htm

it's got nothing to do with the drug itself, its something about the company that makes it monopolized the market.

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Here's my little treatise on the pertinent law and why DRUGS COST SO MUCH

I'm not a lawyer, but I will be in a couple of months (upon passing the bar exam).  Better yet, I just had a course called "Law and Medicine" in law school.

the topics:

1.  Pharmaceutical liability

2.  Why drugs cost so much

LEARN BEFORE YOU MAKE BLANKET GENERALIZATIONS ABOUT THINGS YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND- meaning read books, the news- not listen to FOXnews

-  a great source for non-partisan current events is BBC news- b/c they don't care who's in charge as long as we're (the US) not A-holes.

1.  Liability

pharmacies traditionally have zero liability b/c they're just dispensing- following orders from the doctors.  in the eyes of the law, they may as well ask you if you'd like a side of fries with that.  they would only be subject to liability if they dispensed the wrong medication-  if they were supposed to give you wellbutrin, but gave you oxycontin and that had a terrible effect on you.

now, pharmacies are starting to offer "counseling"- which just consists of cross referencing drugs to make sure that they don't combine to do something bad.  by doing this, they're taking on liability-  really, they're just asking for it.  but then again, i always have a little thing to sign that says that i've declined counseling-  which cuts off their liability again.  offering counseling's just a PR thing, i think, but that's my POV.

traditionally, pharmaceutical companies weren't subject to liability unless they made a drug that was defective from the factory (a classic products liability suit) or failed to adequately warn.  so when people realize that the newest heart drug is giving people strokes, pharmas are liable.  they ONLY HAVE A DUTY TO WARN DOCTORS about potential risks and side effects.  doctors are called "learned intermediaries" and function as the cut off for pharmaceutical liability.  Pharmas also take an extra step to protect themselves.  they include those little leaflets with their drugs with reports from studies, chemical composition, etc.  so, by including this, they have a legal argument that a potential plaintiff has "assumed the risk".  this, of course is crap because no one reads that stuff, and if they did, most wouldn't understand any of it.  Therefore, pharmaceuticals make lots of money, and it's next to impossible to actually be able to sue them.

2.  Why are my pills so expensive?

lots of reasons.  first, pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars a year, generally have zero liability unless they've been really stupid, and spend much more on advertising than research and development (most "breakthrough research" is done in universities, funded by government grants). 

Doctors get screwed b/c they're not making the billions, but have all the liability.  therefore, malpractice insurance is really high, raising healthcare costs, thus, increasing the cost of health insurance to the end user- the general public.  Why is this so? 

Shady politicians and lobbyists.  there is literally a pharmaceutical lobbyist on every block in DC.  What do they do, apart from handing out pens and notepads and otherwise advertising drugs?  They send "the Hammer" Delay on vacations and other crap like that.  Did you know that despite record breaking profits the past few years, Mr. president and congress passed a multi-billion dollar tax cut for the pharmaceuticals (and other huge corporations) this past spring?  Did you know that pharmaceutical companies also send doctors on vacations and some give incentives to dispense their particular brand?  look at the pens and paper that your doctor uses.  ask them who paid for the last "medical conference"- all expenses paid vacations to tropical resorts w/ guest speakers, etc.  I'm almost positive that it was a pharmaceutical company, or an organization run or owned by a pharmaceutical company.

republicans, when campaigning last year, blamed rising healthcare and malpractice insurance costs on "trial lawyers".  in reality, there are no more lawsuits now than there were 10 years ago.  The average cost of settling disputes has not gone up @ all.  saying that lawsuits bring up the cost of healthcare and drugs in particular?  absolutely ridiculous.

the fact is, any claim that has merit will be settled and you won't hear about it.  any frivolous claim will be dismissed, if even brought to court.  If a lawyer files a frivolous claim, he could lose his license forever (disbarment).  if a lawyer does brings a frivolous claim, a judge has the duty to dismiss it- and report the lawyer to be sanctioned.  bringing a frivolous claim isn't worth it to a lawyer.  there are plenty of safeguards built into the system that prevent it from happening.  when you hear about a huge class action suit, it exists because people actually got hurt.  wht class action lawsuits?  b/c in plaintiffs cases, individuals don't have much power unless they group together.  lawyers and plaintiffs wouldn't have the money to try a case.

an aside-  when you hear about lawyers making a ton of money for successfully suing a corporation, it's true.  if a lawyer successfully brings a plaintiff's suit, traditionally, they get paid 1/3 of the judgment.  that sounds ridiculous, right?  sometimes, that's true.  however, you have to take into account that if a plaintiff's attorney loses a case, he will NOT GET PAID.  When a case goes to court, there's never a "sure thing".  regardless of the circumstances, there's always a chance that you will lose.  so, considering the potential benefit and risk associated with plaintiff's law suits, over the past 100 or more years or so, lawyers, judges, and politicians have decided that 1/3 is the right amount to go with.  other options have been considered, but it usually comes down to about 1/3 anyway.  if you consider that a team of lawyers could work over 70 hours a week on a case that extends over a year and there's at best a 50% chance that they will get paid anything at all, then the 1/3 doesn't sound so bad. 

but what about parties to suits that don't get paid enough?  what if they accrue $90,000 in injuries, but only get $60,000 of that because they had to pay their lawyers?  this usually doesn't happen because class actions estimate, based on sales and responses, the number of people that are in a class.  this is of course subject to a judge's review and the defense will probably appeal it, but there is often some degree of speculation in figuring out the number of people in a class.  in the end, not everyone will come forth to claim their share- thus, there is a cushion built in, so that members of the class are able to fully pay off their expenses.

another thing-  patents.  in the US, drug patents last for 17-20 years (the number has been increasing, thanks to pharmaceutical lobbyists and dishonest politicians).  there are exceptions, where companies can get extensions-  pharmas can appeal the denial of an extension and jam up the process for years.  normally, pharmaceutical companies apply for a patent and after submitting, the FDA tests the drugs.  this takes a long time-  usually years.  pharmaceutical companies do spend lots of money on research and development- in order to speed up their FDA approval.  so, when you hear that no long term tests were done and that after a year of taking a certain drug, people started dying, it's because the drug was rushed to market.  yes, a year of profits is worth more than say 10,000 dead people.  it's all about risk management-  lets say 10,000 die, 2000 bring a class action law suit and win.  the possible loss and settlement amount is weighed by how much money the company would make in rushing the drug to market.  it's simple economics.  settlements and lawsuits are factored into pharmaceuticals.  they're a business, after all (a very efficient, profitable one).  End result-  inflated prices so that pharmas can have a cushion- and still have increasing profits every year. 

Another thing-  when patents expire after however long, it's a free for all.  that's when generics pop up and you can save big money.  this can also be avoided though, with the end result being that the consumer is screwed.  a classic example is what happened a few years ago with claritin- probably one of the best selling drugs of all time.  the company that makes it pushed it through the FDA for over the counter sale- thereby cutting off the generics from making any money and cutting into their profits.  at the same time, they introduced clarinex- which is exactly the same molecule, save for a single hydrogen chain or something like that.  if you look up pictures of the two, you can see that they're pretty much the same thing- even people that have no idea what they're looking at.  at the same time, health insurance providers recognized that clarinex was the same thing as claritin, so refused to pay for their subscribers to get it because they could now get claritin over the counter.  No more paying a low co-payment- you get the whole load. 

So- when all these factors and more combine, you get screwed. 

Who to blame?  pharmaceutical companies, politicians (both parties- not all of course- i think MacCain is actually a good guy- from what i've read), health insurance companies, and any celebrity that endorses any friggin drug- b/c their million dollar paycheck makes our drugs more expensive.

What to do?  learn more and don't believe everything you see or hear.  that of course applies to all that i've written above-  if anyone's read it all...

;)

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I hate big pharma - I detest their policies and the way they shirk responsibility.

But ... I hate adversarial tactics more. Why is healthcare going up in price? Yes, drugs and equipment and salaries cost a shitload, but so does indemnity insurance.

And part of the reason that only the bare minimum amount of research gets done on drugs is because they are afraid of being sued. That's why you can't get much info at all on the use of drugs in pregnancy and in paediatrics.

Instead of finding someone to blame, make it a constructive experience. I've had terrible times on drugs, so I engaged the companies in dialogue about my problems. They were nice about it, they were sympathetic, they massaged my ego, so I ended up feeling a lot better about it all. And I saved myself the trouble of getting all angry and pissy. If the system is so fucked that "informed consent" is on the onus of the patient, then get out there and "inform" those people who don't have to resources to do it. (This is the reason I LOVE this site).

If I had lost a leg and needed the cash to buy a fake one, then maybe things would be different.

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knowledge is power.  it's too bad that most people just accept whatever they're told w/o ever learning the facts.

growing up, i got in trouble ALL THE TIME for "talking back".  the whole time, all i really wanted was an explanation- i refused to accept "because i said so". 

now that i'm a bit older, and on thousands of dollars of anti-depressants a year, that "rebellious trait" isn't so bad after all.  ;)

i wonder what effect all of the ADD drugs will have on society in the future...  it reminds me of "brave new world" by aldous huxley.  mmmm... soma...

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Earl- thanks for the informative and educational post. One thing I'd like to mention about the price of meds is that another reason they're so high is the pharmacie's jack up the price so THEY can make a profit. Noone really talks about this one, but I haveread about it. Some pharmacies have a 2000% markup in the price after they get the drug from the pharmaceutical companies. BTW- that was not a typo-2000%. Everyone is getting richer except us. We just work more hours to make less money, and have our "less money" made even less by the exorbitant healthcarepremiums. I have discussed these issues with people and you would be surprise how many people are in favor of socialized medicine. NOT the kind that Bush was (still is?) promoting, but the kind they hae in Canada. Yes, alot of your paycheck goew to the gov., but for many,alot of their paycheck is going for high premiums, co-pays for meds, co-pays for doctors, before you're done, if you are MI and on meds and seeing pdocs and tdocs(mine cost 25$ co-pay each visit-each of my meds is 20 $ /mo., exceptmy dear old klonopin-it's generic - so it's only 7$ co-pay-unless you get prescribed the new klonopin wafers- they don't come in generic. Hey if you want to chew them up, the generic klonopin can be chewed, it tastes almost like candy, and when you chew it, it works faster. I don't know if the other works better, all I know is mine works pretty damn good! I had raging, constant anxiety and daily panic attacks, and now -thanks to GENERIC- klonopin, I have a life. I have more energy. YOu wouldn't believe all the energy it takes to be so anxious that  you jump at your own shadow. End rant, Melissa

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Oh, I just wanted to add this : I AM LUCKY I HAVE INSURANCE BECAUSE OTHERWISE I WOULD BATSHIT CRAZY BECAUSE I COULD NEVER AFFORD THOSE MEDS. I didnt' want people who don't have insurance to think about how much they have to pay for everything . I can't even imagine. mel

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Every single drug has side effects, hard to imagine a reason to sue one in particular. I knew that Effexor withdrawl would be an ugly thing to get through after reshearching it before taking it, but I went ahead & took it anyhow. It's a great drug & I'm glad I took out, it wasn't fun quitting it, but I would take it again if I need to.

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Earl, it sounds like you are ready for the bar exam.  I certainly don't think that one should individually pursue a lawsuit with a drug company over an adverse reaction that is listed on the PI sheet.

Class action lawsuits have thousands of individual cases and the plaintiffs who have alledgedly been harmed don't really have a role in the process.  When they are settled you see ads in the newspaper inviting you to join the class in order to get a piece of the settlement.  First, they have to see if you qualify for the class which is a service performed by the law firm for free.  After that you have to pay for any legal advice given.  The lawyers involved then get that 1/3 of the settlement leaving you with a microscopic piece of the pie.  You might get $60 if you are lucky.

As far as apology goes there is none.  In the recent Zyprexa diabetes settlement , Lilly representatives basically told the press that the suit lacked merit, but they would comply with the settlement.  They had already changed the prescribing info in 2003 when the FDA ordered all atypical APs to take the diabetes risk out of the infrequent side effect category.

I know some people who have become members of the class in various lawsuits.  They come out dissapointed by there being no public admission of wrongdoing and receiving a very little check that didn't make it worth the effort to get.

Katie ;)

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I would, I'd love to sue the balls off Astra-Zeneca for refusing to accept me on a free/low cost program that they have to get seroquel on the grounds that my bf makes too much money... My BF can not afford to help me financially due to huge debt and his own battle with Diabetes and we can't even get married due to the fact that he'd inherite all of my med bills and I'd be un-eligable for most of the disability that I so desperately need. Hell, between the amount that he works and my generally dysfunctional life, we aren't really even bf/gf right now, just best frineds trying to make it. JEEEZE! if I lived with a female friend who was giving me a place to stay until I could get on disability, they wouldn't have rejected me....Dumb-ass sexist bastards.

But I'm already a borderline personality disordered panic attack having depressed middle aged chic...I don't want to be any more of a cliche.

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kassiane and others like you:

I really don't understand where you get this sense of entitlement.  why do you think that you're entitled to get free drugs?  why would a drug company want to give you free drugs?  they're running a business.  it's all about profit.  maybe some people do get freebies, and good for them, but it's not like they're taking anything of yours.  geez, by your logic, i should go to the state lottery board and demand a jackpot b/c other people win...  i'm not a fan of big pharma, but they are very good @ what they do-  make money. 

K, you like to lump people together?  what's next, the blacks and the jews (from chris rock)?  this whole thing reminds me of the "anti-dentite" seinfeld episode...

was your "patient assistance" direct from a drug company?  you make it sound like they want to help people.  the way i see it, they give out some for free, get you hooked, and then you have to find a way to pay for it.  you served your purpose as a guinea pig, you didn't die while ON the drug, they have enough evidence that the drug is safe, so you're no longer needed.  it doesn't matter that you were physiologically hooked.  it doesn't matter that withdrawal may really screw you up.  (to the pharmas, i mean.  i care. :) )

also, like you've said, they were SAMPLES.  you've sampled, got hooked, now you have to pay.  the term "SAMPLE" denotes a limited supply, doesn't it?  pharmaceuticals are corporate america's crack dealers.  they sell a product that gets you physiologically addicted, makes you feel good, then you have to go back for more (talking about crack always makes me think dave chappelle).  in a capitalist society, if you don't have the money, you don't get it.  i'd love a porsche 911 turbo, but hey, i can't afford it, so i drive a subaru.  i will say that it is unfair that pharmas can use addiction as a marketing tool.  it's morally wrong, but not illegal- though it should be. 

i'm sorry that you're in a bad position for whatever reason.  hey, i have pretty good health insurance, but i'm only allowed to go to my psychiatrist 10 times this year, and i think that i'm down to my last 2, with half a year to go!  mental health insurance coverage  in the US is still stuck in the dark ages (thanks to lobbyists!).

maybe you just need a hug?  it usually works for me (especially when accompanied by my pharmaceutical cocktail). ;)

i recommend:

http://www.msnbc.com/news/937302.asp?cp1=1

+

common sense

+

logic

hey, ignorance is bliss.  the more you learn, the more there is to be outraged about!  but i'd rather that.  that's why i'm on this board.

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Hi all!

Earl - hey, if you are gonna start making seinfeld jokes & references, you need to let me know!!!!

as for class action suits, i was mailed info regarding one (i dont want to discuss specifics for various reasons) and decided, you know what? i dont want to be a part of this. so, i wrote a very long letter detailing exactly why i did not want to be a part of this suit, etc, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda the company who was being sued sends me letters and calls me frequently trying to get me to swing their way.

i know this is really super vague. but i have paper proof that being against the tide can sometimes help better than joining a class action suit.

december

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Hmmm. I don't know about Kassi, but I think she is entitled to life-saving drugs. I mean, aren't we all entitled to life? I have a problem with you equating regular drug use with addiction - my drugs don't "make me feel good", they make me stay alive.

Big pharma must be one of the most craven industries on the planet. But right now, instead of trying to dig a hole with a spoon, I'm going to do what I can - education, advocacy. Why should I sink to their level?

Disclaimer - I have never taken any promotional products from pharmas and am a member of a pharmaceutical surveillance group.

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Thanks Halo and VE for the info. I swear I'm not as stupid as I sound!  Have been out of town the past few days so catching up on the posts. Went on a weekend canoeing trip. At 46, I think I'm too old to be a weekend warrior.

Earl, I believe Kass doesn't think she is entitled. She cannot afford it. I am fortunate at this time to have insurance. I think it is great that there are programs for us that help us when we don't have insurance. I wll be off my insurance next month but will go on my husband's with higher co-pays. But if any amount of the money I pay or my insurance co pays goes for prescription assistance, I'm all for it. You never know when it is going to be you.

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