South Dakota Woman Alleges Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer

Ten years ago Deane Berg was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She was only 49 at the time. Berg began researching the disease and found a number of studies that linked the use of talcum powder to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Some of these studies dated back to the 1970s. One recent study found that among black women, those who used talcum powder for feminine hygiene were 44% more likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Berg, a lifetime user of talcum powder, immediately went to her bathroom and threw away her bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.

In the last few months, Johnson & Johnson has lost two jury trials involving its talcum powder products. In total, the juries awarded $127 million to the two families who had been devastated by ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has said that it will appeal the verdicts. The company still claims that its talc-based products are safe.

In the end, Deane Berg got vindication, but no justice. A jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for her cancer, but did not award any damages.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc products, we may be able to help. Give us a call today for a free consultation. When Injuries Strike / We Strike Back.


Minnesota Woman Loses $150,000 While Taking Abilify

A new NBC News report notes that the US Food and Drug Administration has recently warned consumers that popular anti-psychotic drug, Abilify, may cause compulsive behaviors. These behaviors can include compulsive sex, gambling addiction, and uncontrollable shopping among others. One Minnesota woman learned this the hard way. After being prescribed Abilify to deal with her depression, Denise Miley found herself making more frequent trips to her local casino. Eventually it got so bad that she started missing work and ended up losing over $150,000. All of this happened in just five months.

In May, the FDA approved a new warning alerting doctors and patients of this potential side effect. This warning came too late for Miley who was never warned of Abilify’s potential for causing compulsive gambling. Experts are now saying that the drug is probably over-prescribed due to the harm that it can cause.

If you or a loved one has experienced significant gambling losses while taking Abilify, we may be able to help. Give us a call today to see if you are eligible for compensation. 1-877-542-4646

Jury Awards 55 Million Dollars in Talcum Powder Suit

A jury in St. Louis ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 Million to a woman who claims that use of their talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. Gloria Ristesund, a 62 year old woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is just one of more than 1,000 women who believe that the Johnson & Johnson product is responsible for their cancer. After decades of using Shower to Shower talcum powder as part of her daily hygiene regimen, Ristesund developed ovarian cancer in 2011 and subsequently underwent a hysterectomy and the removal of he uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This is not the first jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson. In February the company lost a $72 Million verdict to the family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer last year.

Two major organizations, the American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization, both have expressed concern over the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene. Several studies going back more than 30 years have also looked at talcum powder usage and the occurrence of ovarian cancer. Many, including a 2008 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, have shown that women who use talcum powder are at a higher risk for cancer.

The lawyers at McSweeney/Langevin are closely examining the evidence tying the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer. We are also investigating what Johnson & Johnson knew about the link and when they knew it. If you or a loved one have suffered from ovarian cancer after regularly using talcum powder, you may be able to make a claim against Johnson & Johnson. We would love to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call.1-877-542-4646


Taxotere and Permanent Hair Loss

Cancer is a horrible disease. It can strike people with little warning and have devastating effects on a person’s health and well being and the lives of their loved ones. What’s even more distressing is that the treatment for cancer can often be nearly as bad as the cancer itself.

Many people are prescribed chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. It is common knowledge that chemo can make a person lose their hair. What is less known, however, is that some chemotherapy drugs increase the risk of permanent hair loss. This type of hair loss has a negative impact on the lives of those who suffer from it. Even after their cancer is in remission, some people continue to look sick because their hair won’t come back.

Permanent chemo-related hair loss is called Alopecia Persistent Significant. Many chemotherapy drugs carry a risk of permanent hair loss, but some drugs have a greater risk than others. One such drug may be Taxotere, a treatment for breast cancer. Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Taxotere, claims that about three percent of patients using its drug may experience permanent hair loss. Two other studies dispute this number, however, and put the number of people suffering permanent baldness at as high as 15.8 percent. This difference in probabilities for a life-changing side effect could cause women to select a different form of treatment. Unfortunately, many women do not know of the risk that Taxotere may pose.

One French doctor has started warning his patients of the possibility of permanent baldness that can be associated with Taxotere. French oncologist, Hugues Bourgeois, offers his patients an alternative treatment called Paclitaxel. Paclitaxel has a lower risk of permanent hair loss, but requires more frequent chemotherapy sessions. Many women choose to forego the convenience of less frequent treatment for the lower risk of permanent hair loss.

If you or a loved one have experienced permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere, give us a call. You may be entitled to compensation for the post-cancer suffering that you have endured. We can help.

New Filing Deadline in Xarelto Cases

On March 21st, a federal judge in Louisiana instituted a new filing deadline in Xarelto cases. This deadline, imposed by Judge Eldon Fallon in Pretrial Order No. 11E, bars plaintiffs from filing short form complaints after May 20, 2016. Short form complaints allow plaintiffs to more quickly and easily file a lawsuit, so plaintiffs who have been harmed by Xarelto should move quickly in addressing their legal issues.

Xarelto is a prescription blood-thinning drug manufactured by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson via Janseen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The drug received initial FDAapproval in 2011 for knee and hip replacement patients. It was quickly approved to help prevent strokes in individuals with abnormal heart rhythms. Unfortunately, Xarelto was soon linked to a number of dangerous side effects, most notably uncontrollable internal bleeding.

There is no Xarelto class action lawsuit at this time. However, Xarelto cases, like most large-scale defective drug cases, is part of a Multi-District Litigation (MDL). MDLs streamline litigation and reduce costs to injury victims. Each case in the MDL is handled individually, but all cases are before the same court and subject to the same rules and court orders. Therefore, it is possible for each case in an MDL to settle for different amounts of money. All Xarelto lawsuits were transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana in December, 2014, as MDL 2592.

Because of Judge Fallon’s order setting a deadline for the use of short-form complaints, those who have been harmed by their use of Xarelto should act quickly to protect their legal rights. The attorney’s at McSweeney/Langevin can help you navigate the complex world of pharmaceutical litigation to get you and your family the peace-of-mind you deserve. Give us a call.


Canadian Families Recognize IVC Filter Danger

Two class action lawsuits have been filed in Canada against Cook Medical, an American IVC filter manufacturer. While suits against IVC filter manufacturers have been proceeding in the United States for some time, this is the first time that they have been pursued in Canadian courts. These suits allege that filters can migrate, puncture veins and lungs, and that pieces can break off and embolize. This type of embolism can cause serious heart damage and death.

IVC Filters were introduced to prevent blood clots from reaching the heart and causing serious damage. They were seen as a safe alternative for patients who could not be treated with blood thinners. The filters work by catching the clots and allowing the body to break them down so that they cannot proceed to the heart and brain.

One of the plaintiffs in the Canadian case is Wendy Kopeck, a woman from Red Deer, Alberta. Kopeck had a filter implanted in August, 2013. In October, 2015, Kopeck went to have the filter removed, but her doctors decided that the procedure would be too risky. A subsequent PET scan revealed that the filter had broken with part of the device poking a hole in the jugular vein and the rest migrating to her small intestine. As a result of the device’s defects, it can now never be removed, and Kopeck must stay on blood thinners for the rest of her life.

These problems come on the heels of a number of adverse reports from the FDA involving IVC filters. Because of the problems with the filters, the FDA has recommended that doctors seriously weigh the the risks and benefits for each patient before implanting the devices. The agency has also recommended that IVC filters be removed within 29 to 54 days.

If you or a loved one has an IVC filter, give us a call. We know that this is a stressful time, and we would love to help you get the compensation and peace of mind that you deserve.


Family Shares Story of Zofran Use

As of this month, over two hundred families have filed suit against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) alleging that blockbuster anti-nausea drug Zofran caused their children to be born with defects. These birth defects range from cleft palate to malformed limbs to congenital heart defects. Until now, families who have been affected by Zofran have largely remained silent, but recently a couple in Alabama decided to tell their story.

John and Clara Rickman, parents from Birmingham, Alabama, welcomed a new son into their family last year. The child, Nicholas, was born with a congenital heart defect and required three heart surgeries: the first at just five days old. Clara took Zofran to help alleviate her morning sickness symptoms during the pregnancy, and the Rickmans fear that the use of this drug may have contributed to Nicolas’ heart problems.

Zofran entered the market in 1991. The FDA approved the drug for the treatment of chemo-therapy related nausea in cancer patients. The drug has never been approved for use in pregnant women. Despite this, many doctors prescribe this drug for use in treating morning sickness. This type of prescription is called “off-label.”

Prescribing drugs off-label is a common practice among physicians in the United States. It is estimated that about 20% of all prescriptions are written for off-label uses. While doctors have the ability to use their professional judgment and decide if an off-label use is the best option for their patients, drug companies are not allowed to promote the use of their drugs for any purpose other than FDA approved uses. Plaintiffs, including the Rickmans, allege that GSK violated FDA rules and encouraged doctors to use the drug for the treatment of morning sickness.

In the last few years, several studies have linked the use of Zofran in pregnant women with an increase in the rate of birth defects. One study also noted that prescriptions for Zofran, and its generic form, have reached an historic high with over 100,000 prescriptions per month to pregnant women.

FDA Warns of Transvaginal Mesh Danger

In January, the Food and Drug Administration took the bold step of reclassifying surgical mesh as a class III device. This is a recognition by the FDA that surgical mesh is a high-risk device and that great care should be taken in determining whether it is appropriate for the device to be used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

A History of Surgical Mesh

Surgical mesh has a long history of use in the medical field. The product was initially used in the 1950’s to treat hernias, and it is still used for that purpose today. Surgical mesh works by providing temporary support for organs so that they are able to heal. In the 1970’s, doctors started using mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). This type of prolapse often happens to women after childbirth, and it can cause many complications. By the 1990’s gynecologists began implanting mesh transvaginally in order alleviate prolapse symptoms.

In 2002, the FDA started approving mesh devices specifically for transvaginal use. The agency initially classified the device as class II. This rating meant that use of the mesh carried moderate risk of complications. Since this original classification, however, the FDA has seen a high level of reported adverse events associated with transvaginal mesh.

Mesh Products Cause Complication when used Transvaginally

As long as doctors have been using surgical mesh transvaginally, women have been having complications. Some of the side effects women have suffered include vaginal bleeding, pain during intercourse, perforations of the bowel, and urinary problems. Due to the many reported issues with the devices, the FDA has released a number of warnings. These warnings include: a safety communication in 2008, a warning to doctors and consumers in 2011, and an order to manufacturers in 2012 to conduct postmarket surveillance studies on the effectiveness and safety of transvaginal mesh products. These warnings culminated in the decision last month to reclassify transvaginal mesh as a class III device.

Class III devices are considered high-risk, and are treated differently because of this classification. The FDA order requires manufacturers to look into safety concerns by complying with a rigorous premarket approval application. It also puts Doctors and patients on notice that transvaginal mesh can be very harmful, and it should only be used after thorough analysis of the patient’s situation.

We Can Help

If you or a loved one have been harmed by a mesh device, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys have extensive experience in dealing with these types of cases, and we can help you navigate the confusing world of tort law. Give us a call today.


Zofran Plaintiffs Win Key Early Victory

In January, a federal judge ruled that lawsuits against Zofran manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) could proceed. These suits allege that that GSK promoted Zofran, an anti-nausea drug, for off-label use during pregnancy. This type of promotion is illegal, and it may have lead to serious birth defects in children whose mothers used Zofran to treat morning sickness.

Off-label use occurs when a doctor prescribes a drug for a purpose that is not approved by the FDA. This practice is not illegal and is in fact quite common. An estimated 20% of all prescription are written for off-label uses. Off-label use can be dangerous, however. In the case of Zofran, plaintiffs allege that when used in pregnant women, the drug can cause serious birth defects. Plaintiffs also allege that GSK promoted Zofran for use in pregnant women despite the fact that off-label promotion is prohibited by federal law.

GSK filed a motion with the court to dismiss all pending Zofran claims. They argued that the claims were constitutionally barred because they were preempted by a Food and Drug Administration decision not to reclassify the drug at GSK’s request. Federal Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV of the District of Massachusetts recognized that this type of decision differed from a citizen’s petition for reclassification. Judge Saylor denied GSK’s motion and, in doing so, allowed the Zofran claims to continue.

This decision is a victory for all families injured by Zofran. The drug has been linked to serious birth defects including congenital heart defects, kidney malformation, cleft palate, and gastrointestinal defects. These types of birth defects can take a serious toll on families and result in thousands of dollars in healthcare costs.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by Zofran, let us know. We would love to help your family get the compensation and closure that you deserve. When Injuries strike / We strike back.



C.R. Bard Knew of IVC Filter Defects

Bard IVC FilterAccording to an NBC News report, C.R. Bard, a manufacturer of IVC Filters, knew of problems with its products, but continued selling them anyway. IVC Filters work to catch blood clots and prevent pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, many of these filters are faulty and can cause serious injury and death. This happens when pieces of the filter break off and embolize causing damage to the heart and brain.

In 2002, C.R. Bard released its Bard Recovery Filter. The filter was supposed to save lives, but reports of injury and death caused by the filter quickly began to mount. Bard commissioned a confidential study which found that its filters caused problems at a higher rate than competing products. Despite this, Bard did not issue a recall. Instead, in 2005 it released its G2 series of filters. According to internal memos, Bard was aware by December of 2005 that the G2 series of filters had many of the same problems as the Recovery Filter. Still, Bard executives decided to leave the G2 filters on the market until 2010 by which time they were responsible for more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Nearly 100 lawsuits have already been filed against Bard over its defective IVC filters. These suits seek to hold the company accountable for the harm that it has done to patients both through the defective design of its products and through its willful decision to put profits before safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured by any brand of IVC Filter, now is the time to act. The attorneys at McSweeny / Langevin focus their practice on complex litigation against large drug companies and medical device manufacturers. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call for a free case evaluation. 1-877-542-4646