Settlement For Alzheimer’s Patent

FDG-PET_brain_scan-normal-MCI-Alzheimers

“Alzheimer’s is the cleverest thief, because she not only steals from you, but she steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen. 
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― Jarod Kintz.

In the pharmaceutical world, there is always a new drug or treatment to cure, suspend growth of, or prevent a disease/illness. Just like any other business, the competition is steep and each company is trying to produce “the cure.” Recently, Eli Lilly & Company and Johnson & Johnson both have been in the process of developing potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, that gets worse as it progresses which eventually leads to death. In April, Eli Lilly & Co sought to revoke a patent held by J&J in London courts, which was recently settled with Eli Lilly & Co as victor for the patent. “We are disappointed by the outcome of this case, and we are considering our options,” Greg Panico, a U.S. spokesman for Janssen. Read More

Big Pharma Company Settles with Idaho for $1.7 Million

Pills, by Flickr user "higlu", licensed via Creative Commons.Watson, which is among the top five generic drug companies in the world recently agreed to pay $1.7 million to the state of Idaho to settle allegations of consumer fraud. The consumer, in this case, being the government. Lawrence Wasden, the Idaho Attorney General, filed lawsuits in 2007 against various pharmaceutical companies, Watson included. These lawsuits were meant to recover taxpayer money, claiming the pharmaceutical companies earned extra money unlawfully by reporting an inflated price for their generic drugs.

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Teva Settles More Than $250 Million in Hepatitis Outbreak Cases

A syringe pulling medicine from a vial
Propofol’s medicine vials were too large, leading doctors to dangerously reuse them on multiple patients.

The pharmaceutical company Teva has set aside $285 million to settle lawsuits related to their anesthetic Propofol and an outbreak of Hepatitis C in Nevada.  As reported by Bloomberg, litigants alleged that the company purposefully sold the drug in vials large enough to be reused and improperly labeled the containers, leading doctors to use drugs from the same vial on multiple patients.  This practice leaves patients vulnerable to infection and led to the spread of a deadly virus to colonoscopy patients in Nevada, the litigants claimed.  Hepatitis C is a viral liver infection and can be deadly if left untreated.  More than 80 lawsuits have been brought against Teva, which hopes to settle with the majority of them.

We are reminded that modern pharmaceutical medicine is not guaranteed to be safe.  The drugs we put in our bodies are not perfect and are, as anything, always vulnerable to human error as in this case.  An understandable lack of foresight led to the distribution of too-large vials, which led to reuse, which led to a transmittal of disease.  Though companies usually work to pull imperfect drugs from the public, as evidenced by the seemingly-frequent recall of children’s Tylenol, some things will always slip through the cracks.  The best practice when dealing with chemicals and your body is to find a trustworthy doctor, take your time, and, of course, conduct your own research.