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$1.8 Million Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson — Levaquin

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2010 | Firm News

Created: 09 December 2010

The AP (12/9) reports, “A federal court jury on Wednesday ordered healthcare company Johnson & Johnson to pay damages of $1.8 million in the case of an 82-year-old man who sued over claims the antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin) caused him severe tendon injuries.” The trial “was the first on more than 2,600 other US lawsuits making similar claims.”

The New York Times “Prescriptions” blog (12/9) reports, “In a closely watched case, a federal jury on Wednesday awarded a Minnesota resident a total of $1.82 million in damages, finding that Johnson & Johnson had failed to adequately warn patients that its antibiotic Levaquin may cause tendon damage.” The jury “awarded $1.12 million in punitive damages and $700,000 in compensatory damages to John Schedin, 82.” A spokesman for Orthio-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals said, “We are disappointed with the jury’s decision and will vigorously defend against plaintiff’s claims on appeal.”

Bloomberg News (12/9, Fisk, Hawkins) reports, “In 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration required J&J; and makers of related drugs in the class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones to include warnings on the risk of tendon ruptures. The risk was higher in patients older than 60, those taking steroids, and recipients of kidney, hearty, or lung transplants, the FDA said.” The plaintiffs “claim the label warning should have been improved earlier and remains inadequate” and they say “J&J; and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen boosted sales by downplaying risks.”        The first of thousands of claims reaches jury award. The Minneapolis Star Tribune (12/8, Moore) reported, “The Minneapolis jury awarded $1.1 million in punitive damages and $630,000 in compensatory damages to 82-year-old John Schedin, who ruptured or partially ruptured both Achilles tendons after taking Levaquin and a steroid five years ago for bronchitis. At the time, neither Schedin nor his physician was aware of the risks associated with the drug combination.” The Tribune adds the case “was the first to go to trial of thousands nationwide that Levaquin patients have filed with claims of tendon injuries. The blockbuster drug is commonly prescribed for various infections — more than 430 million prescriptions have been written worldwide.”