When Plaintiff John Schedin, now 82, won his lawsuit case against the makers of Levaquin, he wasn’t the only person excited. His own doctor, who testified on Schedin’s behalf during the trial, was over the moon about the win.
A few years ago, Schedin’s doctor testified that he prescribed Schedin a combination of Levaquin and a steroid as treatment for an infection. He stated that he knew that there was a potential risk of tendon ruptures, but he also said that he didn’t know that the risk was higher if it was given to seniors or if they were taken in combination with a steroid. Only three days after taking the prescription by his doctor, Schedin suffered from two tendon ruptures of both of his Achilles’ heels. As a result of his injuries, Schedin now has to crawl on his hands and knees up the stairs in his house.
During the trial, lawyers argued about how much information was given to doctors and the public ahead of time by Levaquin manufacturers and their reps. Naturally, the defense’s lawyers claimed that all of the information was provided in an insert that came with the medication, and Schedin’s lawyers argued that the information (even the black box warning) was buried within the inserts and impossible to see.
During testimony the doctor also said that he couldn’t remember the rep ever telling him about the tendon ruptures while at his office. Fortunately for the plaintiff, the rep couldn’t remember if she slipped the information in with the free samples or if she said anything verbally either. The rep also stated that she likely didn’t have the time to because of time constraints during the appointments with the doctors. She said that with everyone’s busy caseloads, she would have considered herself lucky to get 30 seconds with the doctor during their meeting.
While a doctor needs to know everything about a medication before prescribing it, the rep stated that you just can’t give that much information in 30 seconds. In the end it doesn’t matter since the doctor is mortified for Schedin’s injuries and the fact that his prescription of Levaquin and a steroid may have caused it.