Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Johnson v. C. R. Bard, Inc.
Hoping to minimize her risk of suffering serious complications from future blood clots, Johnson underwent surgery to implant a retrievable intravascular filter–a medical device that is placed in the inferior vena cava to prevent blood clots that develop in the lower body from flowing into the heart and lungs. Johnson’s doctor selected the Meridian filter, which was supposed to be temporary and easily removable. Johnson’s filter migrated and fractured, leaving shards embedded in the wall of her heart and elsewhere. Her surgeon was unable to remove the device safely and fully. As a result, Johnson faces an ongoing risk of infection, pain, and other complications.Johnson sued the manufacturers of the Meridian filter (Bard), claiming that they defectively designed the Meridian filter and failed to warn medical providers about the device’s risks, in violation of Wisconsin law. A jury rejected most of Johnson’s theories but returned a $3.3 million verdict in her favor on her strict liability failure-to-warn count. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that its decision “should not be misinterpreted as our endorsement of some of Johnson’s counsel’s trial tactics.” There was no reversible error in instructing the jury or in permitting certain testimony, in alleged violation of expert witness disclosure requirements. View "Johnson v. C. R. Bard, Inc." on Justia Law
Medytox, Inc. v. Galderma S.A.
Medytox’s patent is directed to the use of an animal-protein-free botulinum toxin composition that exhibits a longer-lasting effect compared to an animal protein-containing botulinum toxin composition and purportedly can be used to treat both cosmetic and non-cosmetic conditions. Galderma requested post-grant review of claims 1–10, which the Patent Trial and Appeal Board granted. Medytox filed a non-contingent motion to amend seeking to cancel claims 1–10 and substitute claims 11–18 and requested that the Board issue a Preliminary Guidance. Galderma argued that the claims added new matter because the claims covered compounds with a 16-week responder rate between 50-100% but the specification only disclosed responder rates of up to 62%.Reversing its Preliminary Guidance, the Board found that the substitute claims impermissibly introduced new matter with the inclusion of the responder rate limitation and failed to meet the requirements for revised motions to amend; that the proposed substitute claims were unpatentable for a lack of written description; and that the full scope of the claims was not enabled.The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding the Board’s claim construction of the responder rate limitation as a range. The Board provided adequate explanation for its enablement finding. The Board’s revision of its claim construction of the responder rate limitation made between its Preliminary Guidance and final decision was not arbitrary and capricious, depriving Medytox of a full and fair opportunity to litigate. View "Medytox, Inc. v. Galderma S.A." on Justia Law
Ferrari v. Vitamin Shoppe Industries LLC
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to Vitamin Shoppe and ruling that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) preempted Plaintiffs' state law tort claims, holding that Plaintiffs' state law claims were expressly preempted by the FDCA.Plaintiffs purchased three dietary supplements containing glutamine as a main ingredient. Plaintiffs brought this action against the products' manufacturers claiming that the labels on the supplements contained statements that were false and misleading under state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Vitamin Shoppe, holding that the FDCA preempted Plaintiffs' state law claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the statements on Vitamin Shoppe's labels were structure/function claims under 343(r)(6), and Vitamin Shoppe complied with the FDCA's requirements to make such claims; and (2) therefore, Plaintiffs' state law claims challenging the statements about glutamine were expressly preempted by the FDCA. View "Ferrari v. Vitamin Shoppe Industries LLC" on Justia Law
Bridges v. Blackstone, Inc.
Bridges and Cunningham filed a putative class action, alleging that Blackstone (the owner of Ancestry.com) violated Section 30 of Illinois’s 1998 Genetic Information Privacy Act, which provides that no person or company “may disclose or be compelled to disclose the identity of any person upon whom a genetic test is performed or the results of a genetic test in a manner that permits identification of the subject of the test,” 410 ILCS 513/30(a). Both plaintiffs had purchased DNA testing products from Ancestry and submitted saliva samples for genetic sequencing years earlier. Blackstone subsequently purchased Ancestry in a “control acquisition”— an all-stock transaction. Because Ancestry had allegedly paired the plaintiffs’ genetic tests with personally identifiable information—including names, emails, and home addresses—Bridges and Cunningham maintained that Blackstone, as part of acquiring Ancestry, had compelled the disclosure of their genetic identities in violation of Section 30.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit for failure to state a claim. The complaint focusing exclusively on Blackstone’s acquisition of Ancestry did not adequately allege any compulsory disclosure. View "Bridges v. Blackstone, Inc." on Justia Law
Onglyza Product Cases
In 2008, as part of the defendants’ application for approval of Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR, two diabetes drugs with saxagliptin as the active ingredient, the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee required that defendant AstraZeneca perform a cardiovascular outcomes study. “SAVOR” was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that consisted of 16,492 patients with type 2 diabetes who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that saxagliptin did not increase or decrease the risk of these occurrences but noted a higher risk of hospitalization. Following SAVOR, the FDA required warning labels for medications containing saxagliptin, referring to the potential increased risk of heart failure. Researchers conducted additional studies and did not find an association between saxagliptin and an increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure.Patients who took drugs with saxagliptin filed approximately 250 related cases. Most of these cases were filed in federal court and consolidated into federal multidistrict litigation. A Judicial Council coordination proceeding (JCCP) was established for the California state court cases. The court of appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The court upheld the exclusion of the plaintiffs’ general causation expert, who opined that saxagliptin can cause heart failure. View "Onglyza Product Cases" on Justia Law
Perham v. GlaxoSmithKline, LLC
In this appeal arising out of a multidistrict litigation concerning the pharmaceutical drug ondansetron hydrochloride, better known as Zofran, the First Circuit affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion.Various plaintiffs filed separate lawsuits alleging that the use of Zofran during pregnancy caused birth defects and that GSK engaged in an intentionally misleading plan to market Zofran for pregnancy in violation of state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of GSK, holding that federal law preempted Plaintiffs' state law claims. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that federal law preempted Plaintiffs' state law claims that GSK should have warned both prescribing doctors and pregnant people that "animal studies showed harm to the fetus when Zofran was ingested during pregnancy." View "Perham v. GlaxoSmithKline, LLC" on Justia Law
Amiodarone was developed in the 1960s for the treatment of angina and was released in other countries. Amiodarone is associated with side effects, including pulmonary fibrosis, blindness, thyroid cancer, and death. In the 1970s, U.S. physicians began obtaining amiodarone from other countries for use in patients with life-threatening ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia who did not respond to other drugs. In 1985, the FDA approved Wyeth’s formulation of amiodarone, Cordarone, as a drug of last resort for patients suffering from recurring life-threatening ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. The FDA’s “special needs” approval issued without randomized clinical trials. In 1989, the FDA described Wyeth’s promotional activities as promoting an unapproved use of the drug. In 1992, the FDA objected to promotional labeling pieces for Cordarone. Other manufacturers developed generic amiodarone, which has been available since 1998.Consolidated lawsuits alleged that plaintiffs suffered unnecessary, serious side effects when they took amiodarone, as prescribed by their doctors, for off-label use to treat atrial fibrillation, a more common, less serious, condition than ventricular fibrillation. The FDA never approved amiodarone for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, even on a special-needs basis. The court of appeal affirmed the dismissal of the lawsuits. The claims are preempted as attempts to privately enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 301, regulations governing medication guides and labeling and have no independent basis in state law. The court also rejected fraud claims under California’s unfair competition law and Consumers Legal Remedy Act. View "Amiodarone Cases" on Justia Law
Blackburn v. Shire U.S., Inc., et al.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified a question of law to the Alabama Supreme Court. Dr. Dino Ferrante, a gastroenterologist, prescribed LIALDA, which is manufactured by Shire U.S., Inc., and Shire, LLC (referred to collectively as "Shire"), to help patient Mark Blackburn with his Crohn's disease. "LIALDA is the brand name for Shire's mesalamine drug, which is an anti-inflammatory drug specifically aimed at the gut. LIALDA is not approved by the FDA to treat Crohn's, but it is approved to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn's 'sister' disease." After taking LIALDA for between 12 to 16 months, Blackburn discovered that he had developed kidney disease, specifically advanced chronic interstitial nephritis, which had resulted in irreversible scarring and had diminished his kidney function to 20% of normal capacity. As a result, Blackburn is awaiting a kidney transplant. The federal appellate court asked: (1) consistent with the learned intermediary doctrine, may a pharmaceutical company's duty to warn include a duty to provide instructions about how to mitigate warned-of risks?; and (2) might a plaintiff establish that a failure to warn caused his injuries by showing that his doctor would have adopted a different course of testing or mitigation, even though he would have prescribed the same drug? The Supreme Court answered both questions in the affirmative. View "Blackburn v. Shire U.S., Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Thacker v. Ethicon, Inc.
Ethicon manufactures a mesh sling, used to treat stress urinary incontinence, and a posterior mesh “Prolift, “designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse. In 2009, Dr. Guiler surgically implanted both devices to treat Thacker. Before the surgery, Thacker reviewed and signed an informed consent form that listed several risks, including: “infections and/or erosions of the mesh” which could require additional follow-up surgeries, urinary retention, “[p]ainful intercourse and vaginal shortening,” and treatment failure. After the surgery, Thacker’s incontinence worsened, and she suffered from shooting pain in her groin area and severe abdominal swelling and bloating. In 2010, Thacker started experiencing severe and unbearable pain during intercourse.Thacker ultimately sued Ethicon, alleging strict liability and negligence claims under the Kentucky Product Liability Act for design defect and failure to warn. The district court granted Ethicon summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Dr. Guiler’s testimony suggested that he likely would have recommended a different course of treatment had Ethicon given adequate information. Thacker’s expert testified that no reasonable physician would have used the Pelvic Mesh Devices to treat Thacker had Ethicon given adequate information in 2009. A jury could accept that expert’s opinion that a feasible alternative design would have prevented Thacker’s injuries. View "Thacker v. Ethicon, Inc." on Justia Law
Terry Paulsen v. Abbott Laboratories
To treat her endometriosis, Paulsen received Lupron injections in 2004 from her physician in Georgia. Shortly afterward she began experiencing health problems, including severe bone and joint pain, memory loss, and fevers. In April 2010, Paulsen filed a personal injury suit. Paulsen voluntarily dismissed her claims in 2014. In 2015, Paulsen filed a second lawsuit asserting product liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and misrepresentation. After several amended complaints and the addition of a defendant, two claims remained: a strict liability failure-to-warn claim against AbbVie and Abbott; and a negligent misrepresentation claim against Abbott. Limited discovery was permitted.The district court subsequently applied Illinois procedural law and Georgia substantive law, reasoning that Paulsen’s injury occurred in Georgia, and Illinois lacked a stronger relationship to the action, then granted the defendants summary judgment. The court ruled that Paulsen’s strict liability failure-to-warn claim was time-barred by Georgia’s 10-year statute of repose. Georgia does not recognize a stand-alone misrepresentation claim in product liability cases. Even if this cause of action did exist, the court reasoned, Paulsen’s misrepresentation claim would fail because “the undisputed evidence show[ed] that Abbott did not make any representations regarding Lupron.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court noted extensive evidence that Paulsen’s claims accrued before April 2008 and are barred by the Illinois two-year statute of limitations for personal injuries. View "Terry Paulsen v. Abbott Laboratories" on Justia Law