One of the most frustrating aspects of any major pharmaceutical product liability lawsuit is the sheer slowness of the process. The legal system is designed to move slowly, in order to prevent rushes to judgment that don’t properly reflect the facts. On the other hand, people who have been injured by drugs such as Levaquin are suffering now, and dealing with day-to-day pain and the results of ruptured joint structure and mounting expenses while they wait.
Consider that the biggest piece of good news for Levaquin users came late last year, in Illinois.
In September 2009, 15 new lawsuits were filed against a number of companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of Levaquin. These companies include Johnson & Johnson, Ortho McNeill Pharmaceuticals, J & J’s Drug Research and Development and distributor Walgreens.
A motion was filed around the same time seeking to have all the suits brought together as a mass tort matter. There is a lot of power in a mass tort suit, forcing the manufacturers to deal with the issue on a larger scale, rather than simply making small, quiet, “go away” settlements and continuing to push their product.
The evidence against Levaquin remains compelling, as it has over the entire life of the drug as a product. Even as far back as 2001, the FDA demanded the medicine carry warnings explaining the risk to tendons and muscle structures. By 2009, the warnings had increased to the FDA’s most serious black-box rating, reserved for some of the most potentially harmful medicines FDA still permits to be sold.
Despite this, the manufacturers downplayed the risk of tendon injury, claiming the drug has an excellent safety rating. Hopefully the move to consolidate these actions into a single, major class action suit will force more information into the light, and result in some of the injured patients getting their costs recouped.