Howard Burks, a resident of Arkansas, filed a Reglan lawsuit on August 10, 2012. At the time of the filing, his lawsuit joined the mass tort in the Superior Court, San Francisco County, California.
Burks first began taking the acid reflux medication Reglan in 1995 and, as per his prescription, he kept taking it until 2011. Reglan is not recommended for use for a period lasting longer than 12 weeks by the FDA because the drug has been linked to serious and sometimes permanent health problems. Burks’ prolonged use of Reglan caused him to develop the most common of these side effects linked to Reglan — tardive dyskinesia.
In his lawsuit, Burks is suing the makers of Reglan, Wyeth. While Burks is ready to go to court, he is hoping that he can reach a settlement agreement with the company instead. Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological condition that is characterized by Parkinson’s-like symptoms, including involuntary spastic movements of the body, lip smacking, excessive blinking, tongue protrusion and grimacing. The condition is often permanent and there is currently no cure. With a lifetime of treatment in store for Burks and patients just like him, a settlement agreement may be best for Wyeth if the company wants to avoid the larger payouts typically associated with court cases.
Drug companies have been losing lawsuits all over the country during the last year as research is proving that prescription medications are more and more dangerous. This is why some companies may follow Bayer’s lead in agreeing to settle these cases instead of having them tried in courts. A good example of how the tides are turning can be found in how Bayer is handling its Yaz birth control claims. So far, Bayer has settled nearly 1,500 Yaz and Yasmin lawsuits to the tune of $400 million dollars. The company is expected to settle even more lawsuits in the near future.
Jurors and judges are not going easy on big pharmaceutical companies any longer as research continues to prove that many of the drug companies have been downplaying and even hiding the dangers of their medications to the public and healthcare professionals for the sake of sales. Earlier this year, GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to charges of healthcare fraud for that very reason. The penalties in that case cost Glaxo $3 billion, the largest in American history. The subject of that case was Paxil and Wellbutrin, which are both linked to serious side effects.