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Arthritis patients: Actemra can be dangerous

People with rheumatoid arthritis thought Actemra was safe. After it was approved by the FDA in 2010, TV commercials extolled its benefits compared to other drugs for arthritis, claiming it didn’t cause heart attacks, heart failure or life-threatening lung complications.  It wasn’t true.

Unfortunately, hundreds of patients died taking Actemra before word of its lethal side effects surfaced.  An investigation by the Boston Globe Media’s STAT, a medical on-line news agency, revealed the facts.  The Boston Globe has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize 26 times.

Sad track record of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Vioxx and Avandia are just two of the drugs with deadly side effects that surfaced after they were approved by the FDA.

Avandia is estimated to have caused 100,000 heart attacks, strokes, deaths and cases of heart failure,” according to a 2010 report by CBS News.  It received FDA approval in 1999.  It is still on the market with severe restrictions.  Vioxx is estimated to have caused 88,000 heart attacks and killed 38,000 Americans, according to National Public Radio (NPR).  Its 2007 report was based on data from and FDA scientist.  Vioxx was approved in 1999 and recalled in 2004.

Critics say the FDA can’t control the market

The agency is apparently reluctant to sanction drug companies. It can “mandate” a recall if a drug company won’t recall a questionable drug after an FDA request, but “only in rare cases” does it do so. Nor does it oversee clinical trials of drugs seeking FDA approval.  Drug manufacturers do tests of drugs they want approved and present the results to the FDA.  The FDA’s approval process lets drug companies “design research that makes their products look better,” and obscure “dangerous side effects,” according to a report by The Washington Post.

An oncologist with the Oregon Health and Science University told STAT the FDA’s approval system “is broken and all the financial incentives are lined up to keep it broken.” A Yale University study of the FDA between 2005 and 2012, found that one third of FDA approvals were “based on a single trial, there was “no uniformity” in the level of evidence used and that “40% of the approvals were based on comparing a new drug to an “existing treatment.”

When drug companies hide the facts, victims can get justice

In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion in a fraud settlement for several of its drugs, including Avandia.  In 2011 Merck agreed to pay $950 million to settle “thousands” of Vioxx lawsuits.  Both companies knew the drugs had bad side effects but marketed them anyway.

When drug companies take advantage of the FDA’s loopholes, Wayne Wright can help. Wayne Wright is one of America’s top trial lawyers.  His numerous national legal awards, based on high dollar winnings for clients, attest to his ability and dedication to securing justice for the unfairly injured.  Calls and evaluations are free.  Unless Wayne Wright wins a case, no fees are due.

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