Multi-District Litigation (MDL) and class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies have reached epidemic proportions.
With each new pharmaceutical lawsuit, new light is shed on the ever-blurring lines between consumer protection and the FDA; not to mention the fading line between consumer safety and the ever-widening chasm of corporate greed, non-accountability and irresponsibility.
Pharmaceutical lawsuits are nothing new. What is new, and quite troubling however, is the ever-increasing size, scope, lethality and regularity with which new defective drug lawsuits are being introduced.
Perhaps most disturbing of all is the growing trend of MDL drug lawsuits being brought against pharmaceutical companies who are often shown to have been fully aware that their products had serious, even deadly side effects, but chose to ignore the human costs and market them anyway because of the multi-billion dollar profit potential. They just fail to provide adequate consumer warnings.
When did that become okay? Isn’t litigation meant to punish the offenders? If so, why does this trend seem to be gaining momentum instead of losing it? The all-too-obvious rationale is as outrageous as it is unconscionable; pursue the almighty dollar no matter the cost in human lives and suffering.
The pattern so far has been easy enough to spot; big pharmaceuticals earn tens of billions of dollars in profits by mass marketing a new drug for a few years and then write off the human losses and inevitable litigation expenses as simply the cost of doing business.
Historically, multi-billion dollar litigation and settlement expenses tend to consume only a tiny fraction of a heavily-marketed pharmaceutical product’s overall profit run. So companies retain billions in profit after the dust settles; not much of an effective punishment or deterrent. In addition, this provides zero incentive for pharmaceuticals companies to act responsibly or police themselves. To the contrary, it provides an enormous and clearly irresistible financial incentive to continue this despicable practice unabated.
Looking at the bigger picture, defective drug lawsuits take a long, LONG time to be filed and even longer to resolve. Look at Gadolinium MRI contrast dye; the first toxic side effects surfaced in 1997 and yet the FDA didn’t even issue a health advisory to warn doctors about it’s horrific side effects until mid-2007…11 YEARS LATER! And as of 2011, most plaintiffs – the ones who are still alive anyway – haven’t received any settlement money yet either; that’s a decade and a half and counting!
Fen Phen got FDA approval in 1992 and was on the market for six years before it was removed and the last of those settlements didn’t pay out until 2008 – that’s 17 years. Similar stories have emerged with Zyprexa, Avandia, Reglan and dozens of others.
The worst to date? Merck knew it’s popular drug Vioxx increased heart attack risk by a staggering 700% and yet still pursued and received FDA approval in 1999. The FDA’s office of drug safety estimated that 92.8 million prescriptions for Vioxx were filled in the US alone between 1999 and 2003. For 6 years it was one of Merck’s biggest cash cows and it took a firestorm of nearly 50,000 Vioxx lawsuits starting in 2004 to get it pulled from the market. As of Q4 2009 – a half decade later – most Vioxx plaintiffs – including the families of almost 28,000 people killed by Vioxx – still hadn’t received their full settlements yet.
What happens to people during the years between when their injuries surface and when their lawsuit finally settles, assuming they survive that long, can be enough to make a person’s head explode with anger and frustration.
Unfortunately, many people who have been injured by defective drugs or pharmaceuticals find themselves unable to work, incapacitated, depressed, suicidal, diseased, grossly disabled, dysfunctional and financially strapped and left to contend with ailments like cancer, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, birth defects and the list goes on and on. Tens of thousands more find they’ve been handed a death sentence because of their prescription drug usage.
To help people just like this is why pre settlement funding was created in the first place.
TriMark Legal Funding LLC is one of the leading and most highly respected settlement funding and law firm financing providers in the United States. We can offer plaintiff cash advances in as little as 24 to 48 hours with your attorney’s cooperation.
The unfortunate reality is that unethical pharmaceutical conduct and multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical litigation seems to be the new norm and we should expect to see a lot more of it according to world-renowned FDA scientist Dr. David Graham, who stunned the world with his incredible Vioxx testimony, as he spoke out against Merck and the FDA when he said:
“Today, in 2004, you, we, are faced with what may be the single greatest drug safety catastrophe in the history of this country or the history of the world. We are talking about a catastrophe that I strongly believe could have and should have been largely or completely avoided.”
And in a prophetic and chilling glimpse of things to come, he offered a stark warning:
“I would argue that the FDA, as currently configured, is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx.”
Strong words, but it doesn’t take more than a glance at the dozens of defective drug lawsuits currently in litigation to realize that Dr. Graham was right on the money.
So why wait?