Big pharma has made much money recently, but they still have their fair share of problems. In fact, many pharmaceutical companies have been sued for wrongful death or other serious injuries caused by their drugs.
Some even had to pay millions or billions in compensation to victims and their families. For instance, Johnson & Johnson supposedly was involved in the Opioid crisis and paid nearly $5 billion in settlements. Here are some of the most notable lawsuits against big pharma companies:
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been sued multiple times for malpractice and failure to disclose product information. In 2016 the company was sued for its antipsychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone). The plaintiffs claimed they had been harmed by taking this medication while pregnant or breastfeeding.
They sought damages from J&J because they did not adequately warn them of the risks of using Risperdal during pregnancy. J&J settled Risperdal’s lawsuits by paying $800 million in legal expenses and agreeing to a settlement of $2.2 billion for wrongly marketing Risperdal.
In addition to this case, which is still pending in court, other lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson over similar issues with drugs like Tylenol (acetaminophen). Consumption of Tylenol by women during pregnancy has been linked to higher chances of the baby developing autism and ADHD.
J&J has also faced thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma due to asbestos. In 2020, the company stopped selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and faced significant legal costs in the ongoing litigation.
As a result, numerous women who developed ovarian cancer and their families filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential risks associated with using talc-based products in the genital area. They argued that Johnson & Johnson knew or should have known about the possible link between talc and ovarian cancer but did not provide sufficient warnings on their product labels.
Pfizer’s Bextra and Celebrex settlement was a significant legal case that arose from allegations of improper marketing and failure to disclose safety concerns regarding these medications. Both Bextra and Celebrex are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used to treat pain and inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis.
The legal trouble for Pfizer began in the early 2000s when concerns arose over the safety of these drugs, particularly their potential cardiovascular risks. In 2004, the FDA required Pfizer and other NSAID manufacturers to include warnings about cardiovascular risks on their drug labels.
In 2009, Pfizer paid a $2.3 billion settlement after being accused of wrongly promoting Bextra and Celebrex for uses other than those approved by the FDA. The drug was withdrawn from the market, but several lawsuits were already filed against the company. Pfizer was accused of criminal activities for hiding the test results of its drugs to prevent the public from knowing the truth. However, the results were finally out.
EzriCare is a pharmaceutical company that has faced lawsuits for its Artificial Tears eye drops. The product, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 and manufactured by EzriCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., is an over-the-counter lubricant used to treat dry eye syndrome, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS.
However, numerous reports of serious adverse events have been linked to this product, including vision loss and even death due to bacterial infection caused by contaminated bottles of Artificial Tears. As of January 31, 2023, 55 patients from 12 American states with infections were linked to the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
According to TorHoerman Law, EzriCare Artificial Tears has been linked to over 80 infections. Some of these infections are even fatal, as the website states that around four people have died. Another four had to remove their eyes as they got highly infected.
If you are using EzriCare Artificial Tears, you should stop using it immediately, as the FDA has warned against its use. And if you have used it previously and are facing any optic problems like vision loss or eye infection, you can file an EzriCare lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit can help get you compensation for your sufferings.
Novartis has been involved in several lawsuits. These include a lawsuit alleging that Novartis misrepresented the safety of their drugs. This lawsuit was brought by plaintiffs who claimed they were misled about the risks associated with using Actos, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. The plaintiffs alleged that Novartis failed to warn doctors and patients about the severe side effects of long-term use of this medication.
Additionally, Novartis is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit involving an allegedly defective defibrillator device manufactured by Guidant Corporation, which St Jude Medical Inc., another defendant in this case, acquired.
Guidant sold more than 100,000 units globally between 2004 and 2006. However, some models were defective due to manufacturing defects affecting their ability to deliver shocks properly through wire leads attached directly to heart muscle tissue during CPR procedures performed during cardiac arrest.
GlaxoSmithKline was fined $3 billion by the US government in 2012 for marketing drugs for unapproved uses, paying kickbacks to doctors, and other violations. The settlement was the largest in the history of the Department of Justice and included criminal charges against two GSK executives sentenced to prison time.
The company also had other legal issues with its diabetes drug Avandia, which was linked to heart problems, including heart attacks and stroke, when used long-term. However, this link has not been proven based on scientific evidence yet. Moreover, anemia was reported in 1.9% of patients receiving Avandia as monotherapy in double-blind trials.
AstraZeneca is a pharmaceutical company that has faced lawsuits. In 2014, AstraZeneca paid $1 billion to settle claims that it had illegally marketed Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The settlement also required the company to pay $520 million for research into Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
In 2016 and 2017, respectively, AstraZeneca agreed to pay out $230 million in separate settlements with two whistleblowers who filed False Claims Act cases against the company related to its marketing practices around Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium), another cholesterol-lowering medication.
As you can see, pharmaceutical companies face many different types of lawsuits. Some are more common than others, but all threaten your business if you must prepare for them. Knowing what kind of lawsuits you could face and how to avoid them can keep your company safe from harm while continuing its mission of helping people recover.