Hersh & Hersh Files Lawsuit Against Drug Maker Valeant for Brain Injury Sustained by Plaintiff During Hepatitis C Clinical Drug Trial
Wednesday January 12, 9:00 am ET
Neither Valeant nor California Pacific Medical Center Staff Disclosed Harmful Side Effects of Viramidine & Pegasys Interferon Drug Combination to Patient
SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jan 12, 2005 -- Product liability law firm Hersh & Hersh (www.hershlaw.com) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of plaintiff Linda Iacovetta against Valeant (NYSE:VRX - News), a Southern California drug company, and California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco. Hersh & Hersh attorneys claim that as a result of participating in Valeant's clinical trial to test the effects of the combination of viramidine and pegylated interferon for treating hepatitis C, Iacovetta developed brain damage and has become permanently disabled.
CPMC physicians who conducted the clinical trials are denying they were agents of Valeant and are not culpable under product liability law. They have requested a hearing which will take place on Friday, January 14 in San Francisco Superior Court.
The San Francisco medical lawsuit ties into the recent barrage of high-profile drug controversies ignited by the stunning discovery that Vioxx , Celebrex and even Aleve are now known to cause heart attacks and strokes. Drug companies have come under fire for over-marketing their products to doctors while withholding negative findings of their for-profit clinical trials to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and for paying doctors large sums of money to enlist their patients in these studies.
According to Nancy Hersh of Hersh & Hersh, "It is widely known that drug companies turn to physicians for access to patient volunteers to participate in studies and that they in turn receive fees for each patient enrolled. We can show that the CPMC physicians involved in the hepatitis C drug treatment study did accept payment for providing patients while knowing their patients would be at risk of the drug combination's side effects.
"Ms. Iacovetta has been rendered mentally incapacitated by the fraudulent actions of Valeant and the CPMC physicians. They are part of the latest scourge against the drug industry and medical community."
Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne viral infection in the U.S., which can inflame and cause irreversible damage to the liver. It is typically treated with interferon, often used in combination with anti-viral drug ribavirin, also manufactured by Valeant. However one of the major side effects of ribavirin is anemia, a deficiency of the red blood cells. If anemia is severe patients are forced to take a lesser dose and ribavirin's effectiveness is sharply diminished.
Valeant began clinical trials of viramidine in 2003 in combination with pegylated interferon with the goal of decreasing the occurrence of anemia. But, according to Hersh & Hersh attorneys, the drug maker and CPMC physicians failed to appropriately warn users of the dangerous risks of taking these two drugs together and Iacovetta suffered the consequences.
Iacovetta originally sought treatment for hepatitis C at CPMC and was encouraged to participate in the clinical trial study to test the use of viramidine and pegylated interferon taken together. She was put on a regimen of 800 miligrams of viramidine twice daily and 180 micrograms of pegylated interferon once a week, from March 2003 through August 2003.
As a result of the six-month course of drug therapy, Iacovetta now suffers from brain damage and cognitive deficits, including memory loss, inability to concentrate, depression and migraine headaches. Hersh & Hersh attorneys claim that Valeant and the medical staff of CPMC knew the threat of neurological damage that this drug combination posed and concealed it from Iacovetta.
About Hersh & Hersh
Hersh & Hersh is a San Francisco-based law firm dedicated to protecting the safety and rights of consumers. The law firm represents clients both on an individual level and in class and multi-district litigation, and has pursued and won a wide range of civil suits, from product liability, medical malpractice and insurance bad faith to sexual harassment and employee discrimination.
For the past 32 years, Hersh & Hersh has been committed to using the law to protect individuals by making sure companies exercise due diligence in manufacturing their products and operate in good faith in delivering their services.
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