In our popular series of Class Action articles, we’ve covered the “big five” ongoing Class Action lawsuits (Taxotere, Talcum Powder, Roundup, IVC Filters, and Gadolinium; as well as articles covering several smaller but no less important ongoing lawsuits). Our Class Action series spanned numerous articles and touched on all five of the current biggest classes pursuing litigation as of 2018. Now, with 2018 coming to a close, we’ll present a follow-up article on where these “big five” cases currently stand and where they’re set to go going into 2019.
To refresh, in How A Drug Intended to Save Lives Ultimately Destroyed Them we explored Taxotere, a drug created to treat late stage cancer in women. While the drug worked, its side effects were extreme, painful emotionally and physically, and permanent. Taxotere was found to cause irreversible Alopecia in women treated with the chemotherapy drug.
Throughout Talcum Powder Was a Woman’s Staple…, we gave insight into how a popular beauty product used in homes across the United States for decades gave way to ongoing litigation in cancer patients whose doctors linked their disease directly to their use of the once thought harmless powder.
In our multiple well received publications on Roundup we gave our readers the most insight available online about how the Monsanto created and marketed agricultural product, a weed killing agent meant to sustain crops and farmland, was ultimately linked to thousands of cases of fatal leukemia in those who handled the product for any extended period of time. Our articles were so well received, we published a video follow-up as well.
In IVC Filters: Hidden Dangers Patients Weren’t Aware Of we covered the extreme health hazards and potential fatalities in those who received surgically placed IVC filters that ranged from the filters breaking off inside the patient, to blood clots and strokes that caused fatalities.
When we published Gadolinium: Thousands Underwent MRIs… we uncovered how patients underwent medically necessary MRI procedures with contrast, only to find themselves with severe health complications months to years later, directly linked to the use of contrast agent Gadolinium. Among the most severe symptoms reported during ongoing litigation were organ failure, nerve damage, and skin lesions among other life-threatening complications.
1. The brass Tax-otere
In 2018, multiple litigation experts determined that Sanofi-Aventis the maker of strong chemotherapy drug Taxotere only began warning cancer patients about the risk of permanent Alopecia after the FDA forced their hand in doing so. This lack of transparency resulted in women suffering the physical side effects of chemotherapy as well as the unnecessary mental anguish caused by permanent hair loss.
To date, Taxotere has also been said to cause side effects worse than it’s chemotherapy counterparts manufactured by other drugmakers. These findings are not only unacceptable, but unfathomable to an extent that millions of dollars in damages are being awarded to victims who were unfairly conned into taking the drug.
Pharmaceutical companies must provide a suitable, fair level of transparency with patients about the potentially life-changing (painful, mentally damaging) side effects of the drugs which they’re responsible for producing. Due to lack of transparency over the course of many years, cancer patients have now been forced to endure permanent Alopecia (hair loss) due to being prescribed Taxotere with no advance warning that their expected chemotherapy hair loss would ultimately become permanent.
As of August 2018, all cases in which Taxotere was said to cause permanent side effects have been granted Mass Tort status. Mass Tort status simplifies an otherwise complex web of thousands of claims. With the status applied, all cases will be handled from within a centralized location in order to organize the sheer volume of claims pouring in after a judge ruled that litigation may proceed.
2. Let’s Talc about it
Talcum powder: the fine, grainy substance made from “talc”, which is composed of “organic” elements such as magnesium, oxygen, silicon and smaller or traces of other minerals. When powdered, science has come to show that talc is absorbent and capable of reducing friction in more sensitive areas of the body. Using talcum powder on those same sensitive areas in women however, science has now shown, caused the microscopic talc particles to travel to the ovaries–this causes an inflammatory reaction.
Since the early 1970s, scientists have conducted research into the presence of these talc particles found in women who have been shown to have ovarian cancer. As early as the 1990s, a second, separate study supported the research that found women who used talcum powder in direct contact with the body on a daily or somewhat regular basis had unknowingly and largely increased their risk of developing ovarian cancer over the course of a lifetime. Now, unbiased medical research has come to support the idea that women who regularly use talcum powder dramatically increase their risk of ovarian cancer.
These independent studies, as well as the fact that talcum powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson was aware of them–are grounds for the litigation that the multi-billion-dollar company found themselves at the center of in mid-2018. As of July, Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay upwards of 4 billion dollars to victims (so far, as litigation continues). With the knowledge of the studies conducted as well as the outcome of those studies, Johnson & Johnson had what’s known in the legal sphere as “foreseeability” and failed to act accordingly with that knowledge, allowing thousands of women to pass away from a preventable form of cancer.
3. Year end Roundup
As of July 2018, hundreds of lawsuits that alleged Roundup weed killer was the cause of their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were cleared by a federal judge to proceed with litigation. Nearly every claim states that Roundup manufacturer Monsanto–known around the world as an agricultural product giant–was fully aware of the life-threatening cancer risk their Roundup line of products possessed but chose not to act on the knowledge based on the fear of profit loss. Due to prioritizing profits, thousands of agricultural workers were diagnosed with incurable cancer directly linked to the chemical Glyphosate found in Roundup.
The most notable case of Roundup litigation in 2018 was cancer patient and former farm worker Dewayne Johnson. Dewayne Johnson sought upwards of $400 million in Punitive Damages and $39 million in Compensatory Damages from Roundup manufacturer Monsanto. Mr. Johnson’s attorney Timothy Litzenburg told news sources at the time, that when his client was awarded $289,000,000 in damages it became one of those successful rulings against Monsanto to date, and there are still more to come.
4. No Filter
Decades ago, IVC filters were designed by doctors as a way to provide reliable prevention against life-threatening blood clots in the lungs either caused by illness or injury; these blood clots are known medically as “pulmonary embolisms”. However, beginning in 2005 (but suspected prior to the aughts), hundreds of reports that IVC filters were malfunctioning, migrating, fracturing (breaking off in the lungs), perforating, and causing blood clots lead to an outpouring of Class Action lawsuits being filed with the FDA against the multiple manufacturers of these devices.
While litigation in these cases has slowed significantly, there is still time and place for claims. It’s important to seek legal representation if you or a loved one has become the victim of one of these devices, as once litigation is given the go ahead to once again proceed, it will move forward quickly.
5. Oh Gad!
Recently, it came to light that the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) now requires warnings for gadolinium-based contrast agents (“GBCAs”). These warnings are there to enforce the proper usage of the drug and limit it’s use solely to when it’s medically necessitated. More importantly, it’s in place to alert patients of the potential harm caused by Gadolinium retention.
As of May 2018, any healthcare providers (radiologists, x-ray technicians, pharmacists) that handle GBCAs were properly provided updated prescribing and dosage information for such contrast agents. Gadolinium, like Taxotere, is yet another harmful substance concealed by pharmaceutical companies who prioritize profit over patients, leading to human beings sustaining life threatening organ failure, skin lesions, and intestinal distress.
What happens next?
If a victim has sustained a serious, life-changing injury as a result of a defective product or a harmful drug — IVC Filter complications, Gadolinium Toxicity, Taxotere-related hair loss, or Roundup exposure — or have tragically lost a loved one as a result, victims and their families have rights that must be protected. It’s important to act quickly but carefully when selecting legal representation. In order to join a Class, a lawyer must have extensive experience in the area of Class Action litigation and fully understand how to proceed.