Two of the most highly prescribed painkillers, Darvon and Darvocet, have recently been pulled off the market as a result of the health risk they pose to individuals. Dangerous heart side effects plagued the painkiller for years; however, it was not until November of 2010 that the FDA recommended the painkillers be withdrawn from the market completely. The estimated amount of individuals who have been prescribed such medications is in the millions, especially since Darvocet has been prescribed for over sixty years. The actual amount of people who have been prescribed or have taken either or both of these painkillers may lead to an astounding number, which no one can quite quantify as of yet. While it is sad that a prescription that is supposed to ease the pain of individuals may lead to a person suffering fatal consequences, the legal ramifications of the drug causing these problems is important to understand.
Both types of painkillers have been criticized heavily for over thirty years, without any change or modification until now by the FDA. The common dangers element that exists in both Darvocet and Darvon is the fact they both contain propoxyphene. In fact, the Public Citizen group petitioned the FDA to ban the drug in 1978 and again in 2006. Within that time period, millions of individuals every year were being newly prescribed the painkillers or were continuing to take them, relying on their physicians assurance that the drug was safe and would help ease their pain and discomfort. Yet, in July 2009, an FDA expert advisory committee voted 14-12 to ban the drug as a result of its dangerous side effect.
The FDA overruled the panel, instead conducting more research on the prescriptions dangerous effects. The director of the FDA’s office of new drugs at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, John Jenkins, MD, stated, “The drug puts patients at risk of abnormal or even fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.” Further, Jenkins admitted that it is hard to determine exactly how many individuals have passed away due to taking these painkillers, yet, the FDA study shows that more deaths are linked to the drug than to either of two alterative opioid painkillers, tramadol and hydrocodone.
Lawsuits filed against the drug manufacturer, Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, and Eli Lilly (the pioneer of the drug) are beginning to grow steadily as individuals learn about the danger they have been relegated to by taking such harmful prescription drugs. The suits claim strict liability and negligence. Strict liability for products liability type cases such as this, will involve the injured party proving that the item was defective, that the defect proximately caused the injury, and that the defect rendered the product unreasonably dangerous. A plaintiff, under this cause of action, may recover damages even if the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation of the sale of the product. Another important aspect of liability is to protect the public against harm that may result from a specific product, such as the drug here, propoxyphene.
The common element between Darvon and Darvocet, propoxyphene, may not be safe if taken at any level. Even when the drugs are taken at “safe” and prescribed levels, studies show the drug still causes the individual to have an irregular heartbeat. Whereas the irregularity will stop in some individuals, others are not so lucky. Despite the declaration by the pharmaceutical companies that causation will be hard to prove, the studies performed by the pharmaceutical companies themselves and the FDA, illustrate the causal link between the painkillers with the common element drug, and the serious heart conditions that result.
If you have taken either Darvon and/or Darvocet, and want to know your legal rights please call The Berniard Law Firm. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the legal process while protecting your legal rights along the way. Call Toll Free The Berniard Law Firm at 1-866-574-8005. Our attorneys will protect your legal rights every step of the way.