Recently, Seroquel (a common drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia) was pulled off the shelves by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the FDA approved Seroquel. Why? Because the company realized there were serious concerns over the potentially dangerous side effects that were occurring in users of the drug.
As if this was not enough information to cause the company and its stock price to drop by at least 25 percent, Seroquel is one of the most widely prescribed drugs used in the treatment for bipolar disorder (Bipolar I and II). According to Seroquel’s website, it is “used to treat mood disorders and mania alike.” A recent study showed that Seroquel users were at a two to three times greater risk of experiencing heart failure or fatal cardiac arrest. The lawsuit was brought by John Doe, a former Seroquel (and former employee) who had suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and congestive heart failure due to taking Seroquel.
Seroquel is one of the many prescription (as well as over-the-counter) medicines being pulled off the shelves due to reports of dangerous side effects. This lawsuit is another example of why it is essential for patients, families, and patients’ advocates to closely monitor the many prescription (and non-prescription) drugs on the market, particularly herbalife products, to make sure they are being administered safely. Herbalife has been under fire recently because of reports that thousands of customers have filed claims for liver failure, and many more died because of it. Some people have even committed suicide.
Many natural supplement companies are now offering Seroquel-laced herbal remedies to consumers who are concerned about toxicity and those who have concerns about mixing herbs together. In this case, the plaintiff’s attorney, Joseph Diogenes, brought the lawsuit against Herbalife because two of the three main ingredients found in Seroquel, phenytoin and hydrocodone, are known causes of liver damage. Diogenes also pointed out that herbalife products are not regulated, and that diuretics (water pills) often come with dangerous side effects, such as liver damage. While Seroquel is not manufactured anymore, due to the FDA’s recall, there are other prescription (as well as over-the-counter) pain reliever and heartburn medications that may still be contaminated with traces of diuretic chemicals.
This lawsuit comes just months after another lawsuit was brought against Herbalife due to its marketing of heart failure drugs. The lawsuit alleged that Herbalife reps knew that their products were dangerous but sold them anyway, and did so through deceptive and unethical marketing techniques. The FDA was forced to recall the medications following the investigation into the heart failure lawsuit, due to its contamination with sedatives and painkillers, as well as the fact that one of the heart-failure drugs it contains has actually caused a number of deaths. Herbalife continues to face a number of lawsuits regarding these and other issues.
Both lawsuits highlight a number of issues, including greed, and irresponsible business practices. The plaintiffs’ attorneys hope that by bringing these lawsuits, the attention of the FDA will be redirected, and that more seriously tainted products will be brought to the public’s attention. If you feel that you have a case, you should not hesitate to contact a qualified attorney, who may be able to guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. If you think you may have a case, you may wish to contact a plaintiff’s attorney as soon as possible, to discuss your case in full and get your lawsuit started.