CHARLESTON, WV -- July 25, 2003 -- Lawsuits against the maker of the diabetes drug Rezulin may be combined, according to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The decision reverses a lower circuit court decision and allows 5,000 state Rezulin cases to go forward as one class action. The plaintiffs, former Rezulin users, seek to have their health monitored to determine if they suffered any adverse effects from taking the drug. The costs would be borne by Rezulin manufacturer Warner-Lambert, now owned by Pfizer company.
The plaintiffs claim that Warner-Lambert aggressively marketed Rezulin despite knowledge that it posed a great danger to patients. They point to advertisements touting the side effects of Rezulin as "... comparable to a placebo." At the same time, Warner-Lambert's own clinical trial data showed that Rezulin users were three to six times more likely to suffer serious liver injury than patients taking a placebo, according to the plaintiffs.
Rezulin Side Effects
Rezulin is the brand name for troglitazone, a drug used to treat Type II or adult onset diabetes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Rezulin in 1997, but took the drug off the market in 2000 because of its link to severe liver disease (HHS News, March 21, 2000). The FDA found that two other diabetes drugs, Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone), provided benefits similar to Rezulin but without the increased risk of liver disease.
Rezulin is not the only drug that has been withdrawn from the market in the last few years because of its serious side effects. Baycol (cerivastatin) sales were halted in 2001 because use of the cholesterol-lowering product resulted in deaths due to "rhabdomyolysis," a condition that causes kidney failure and the release of muscle cell contents into the blood stream. The diet drug phen-fen (dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine) was withdrawn from the market in 1997 because of its link to valvular heart disease.
At Brayton Purcell, we are concerned about the hazards of unsafe medical drugs such as Rezulin, Baycol, and Phen-Fen. If you have taken these drugs, you may be at risk for serious health problems and should be medically monitored. Please feel free to contact us, either through this web site or at our offices, if you have any questions about medical drugs and your legal rights.