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Pfizer and others named in St. Clair County suit over Dilantin January 18, 2011

Posted by Dreamhealer in Big Pharma.

Residents of St. Clair County, New York and Louisiana joined to file a suit against the makers of drugs used to treat epilepsy, saying it caused them or their deceased relatives to develop a severe and potentially deadly skin disease. Shirley Johnson, Michael Shepherd and Lyndora Thomas Taylor on behalf of the recently deceased John Taylor filed a lawsuit Dec. 28 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Pfizer, Parke Davis and Warner Lambert.

Christopher Cueto of the Law Office of Christopher Cueto in Belleville, Robert L. Salim of Louisiana and Kenneth T. Fibich of Fibich, Hampton and Leebron in Houston will be representing them. According to the complaint, the plaintiffs all developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or Toxic Epidural Necrolysis (TEN) after ingesting prescription medications containing the substance Dilantin. SJS and TEN are both skin disorders characterized by the discoloration or exfoliation of skin, the shedding of hair and nails, hives or burns to the body, loss of eyesight and/or damage to internal organs, the suit states.

One plaintiff — Lyndora Thomas Taylor — lost a relative — John Taylor — to the severe skin reaction on Dec. 31, 2009, the complaint says. “Defendants’ Dilantin drug products are the most dangerous and lethal drugs that cause deaths from SJS/TENS,” the suit states. Dilantin, the substance suspected to cause the skin disorder, has been used in drugs to treat epilepsy since 1939, but was not FDA-approved as a safe and effective way to treat seizures until 1976, the plaintiffs claim.

Even then, however, the drug should never have been approved as a safe treatment, according to the complaint. “Post-marketing databases confirm that serious skin reactions have been reported in patients receiving Dilantin drug products,” the suit states. “These databases include the US-FDA Adverse Event Reporting System, World Health Organization, Upsalla Monitoring Centre, and the Health Canada Adverse Event Database and demonstrated that SJS/TEN events associated with Dilantin drug products were not infrequent and exceeded other drugs on the market that have significant relative risks of SJS/TEN, including Bactrim and Tegretol.”

To make matters worse, the defendants knew of the drugs’ dangers, but failed to adequately warn their customers of risks, the complaint says.

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