Friday, August 28, 2015
On August 17, the Federal Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation created a consolidated action to hear legal claims against the makers of antibiotics Cipro, Avelox and Levaquin. The consolidated action (MDL No. 2642) will hear all claims related to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including later claims filed against drug makers Bayer Pharmaceuticals (Cipro and Avelox), Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Levaquin), and pharmaceutical distributor, McKesson. These claims allege that the drugs caused certain serious side effects, and that each of the defendants failed to properly warn doctors and patients of the risk. In previous cases, this type of consolidation has allowed the litigation to proceed more efficiently. It may also encourage the creation of a settlement program designed to resolve all claims, including healthcare liens. Read the panel’s order here.
These types of cases against pharmaceutical manufacturers are commonly consolidated, because each case involves a patient who took a similar medication and was later injured by the same unknown side effect. The cases will be transferred to the Honorable John R. Tunheim, a Federal District Judge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who will resolve any pre-trial issues shared by all claims. After that, each case will be sent back to its original court for a trial if necessary.
The actions consolidated in this proceeding involve claims seeking compensation for irreversible peripheral neuropathy, a condition which is characterized by severe numbness, pain and / or weakness in the hands and feet. While temporary neuropathy is commonly resolved by treating an underlying health condition such as diabetes, irreversible neuropathy is a chronic condition caused by permanent nerve damage. It can cause severe pain, and may require a lifetime of additional care. In 2013, the FDA issued a warning to manufacturers of these drugs, requiring them to include more detailed warnings about the risk of this condition on the drugs’ labels. This is also not the only serious undisclosed risk associated with these medications. In 2008, the FDA released a similar warning about the link between fluoroquinolone antibiotics and a heightened risk of achilles tendon rupture.
Accordingly, healthcare payers have incurred large costs in the treating side effects associated with these medications. Payers must therefore have the ability to accurately identify these claims and recover related costs, even if the injured person has not yet filed suit. This is especially significant in cases involving a pharmaceutical product such as Levaquin, where the injured party may not be aware that their condition was caused by the use of the drug.
Healthcare Recovery Solutions allows a healthcare payer to identify all Levaquin related claims early, and seek recovery in the method of its own choosing. Whether a payer chooses to assert a lien on their insured’s action or institute their own claim for damages against the drug maker, HRS allows a healthcare payer to recover these expenses quickly and efficiently. With HRS, a healthcare payer can accurately identify all patients who took the drug, isolate the side-effect related treatments that they received, and use this information to calculate an accurate lien amount representing side-effect related costs for each patient. Without these tools, payers risk losing hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in potential recoveries. No matter which course of action a healthcare payer chooses, HRS can provide it with the ability to assert its full lien rights, and recover the maximum amount available in all cases. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.