Recently in Pharmaceutical Companies Category

March 13, 2013

The Antibiotic Zithromax May Cause Fatal Heart Problems

The FDA has issued a warning for the antibiotic drug Zithromax, commonly known as Z-pack or Zmax, due to the fact that the drug can cause disruption to the electrical activity of the heart. An investigation has been conducted since May 2012 to determine the side effects of Zithromax and therefore a warning was issued on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

Zithromax is an antibacterial drug known as macrolides, which have been known to cause abnormal heart rhythm problems, which can lead to fatal heart conditions. In the research conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that patients who took Zithromax were 2.5 times more likely to die due to heart related problems on a 5 day treatment plan when compared to patients using other antibiotics.

Patients with existing medical conditions were at higher risk of heart health issues as those without pre-existing medical conditions. Patients with low blood levels of potassium and/or magnesium, those with slower than normal heart rates and those taking certain drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms were at higher risk of complications when using Zithromax.

Pfizer, in 2011, made a profit of over $450 million in Zithromax sales. The drug is usually prescribed to patients suffering from urinary tract infections, tonsillitis and other bacterial infections. Patients should consult with their physicians before taking this drug and doctors should inform patients of the possible heart problem drug side effects of using this drug.

September 28, 2011

Serious Side Effects of Levaquin Reported in the U.S.

The popular antibiotic Levaquin, is available only by prescription, comes in tablet, oral solution and intravenous forms and is prescribed to adults, over the age of 18, to treat infections. These infections include: sinus infections (sinusitis), chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, skin infections or skin-structure infections and various types of urinary track infections.

Levaquin should only be taken by prescription and one must follow physician orders. If taken incorrectly or in high dosages it can have severe side effects and even death. Levaquin has also been associated with an increased risk of tendon rupture or swelling of the tendon (tendinitis). The risk, however, is higher in adults over the age of 60, people who take steroids, and those who have had kidney, heart of lung transplants.

If you experience any weakening of muscles, tendons or any swelling and/or inflammation, please seek medical help immediately. Tendon rupture can occur while you are taking Levaquin or even months after you stop taking it.

Other possible side effects of Levaquin include: liver damage, central nervous system side effects (such as: seizures, hallucinations, confusion, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, etc.), allergic reactions, damage to the nerves in arms, legs and hands, intestinal infections, changes in heart rhythms and changes in blood sugar.

The most common side effects of Levaquin include: nausea, headache, diarrhea, constipation and dizziness. While taking Levaquin you should avoid sunlaps/tanning beds and operating heavy machinery.

In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the distribution of Levaquin and in 2008 it required that the drug packaging have a black box warning label. The black box warning label is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication.

Currently, in the United States, there are about 1,900 Levaquin tendon damage cases pending litigation.

For a complete list of symptoms and side effects you may contact your physician and the FDA by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch, or by calling 1(800)FDA-1088

January 28, 2011

Pharmaceutical Companies Are Responsible for the Most Federal Fraud Lawsuits Filed in the U.S.

Q: What Industry do you think is the leader in Federal Fraud Lawsuits in the United States?
A: Pharmaceutical Industries.


Photo credit: mconnors from morguefile.com

According to a report released by False Claims Act comes from pharmaceutical companies. The report shows that Drug Companies are the leader in Federal Fraud Lawsuits. Defense Companies accounted for 11% of fraud settlements, this makes them the second highest in federal fraud lawsuits, in the United States.

Public Citizen was founded in 1971 and serves as the people's voice in the nations capital. It is a nonprofit organization responsible for being the voice of many in all aspects of the government. They go before Congress, the executive branch agencies and the court systems. They challenge various agencies, such as pharmaceutical, nuclear and automotive industries.

The report analyzed civil and criminal settlements under the False Claims Act at the state and federal levels since 1991 in order to determine the leaders in federal fraud suits.

The False Claims Act is a law that allows people who are not affiliated with the government to file actions against federal contractors they accuse of committing claims fraud against the government. People who file under the Act stand to receive a portion of any recovered damages. This act provides a legal tool to counteract fraudulent billings turned in to the federal government. The original False Claims Act was passed in 1863 and it has since been revised. The last revision was in 1986 and since then almost $22 billion has been recovered by the federal government.

Out of the almost $22 billion recovered since 1986, 75% of the money and 73% of the cases happened in the last 5 years. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) files most of these fraud cases that are brought against the pharmaceutical companies. Most of these cases are for attempting to market medications that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is illegal under federal drug regulations for a company to promote their products that have not been approved by the FDA.

In 2009, Pfizer was fined $1.2 billion for illegally marketing the painkiller Bextra. This is currently the largest criminal fraud fine in history. The second highest was Elan Pharmaceuticals. It was fined $203 million for illegally marketing the epilepsy drug Zonegram.