Last week a Minneapolis jury ordered Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) to pay $1.7 million in damages to John Scheidin, an 87-year-old man who suffered and an Achilles tendon rupture only days after taking the company’s prescription antibiotic medication, Levaquin.
This trial was the first of more than 2,600 similar lawsuits that have been filed in federal and state courts throughout the nation.
Defense council is understandably disappointed with the verdict and plans to appeal the decision.
The lawsuit centered on the whether Ortho failed to adequately warn about the potential risks associated with the use of Levaquin, and judging by the $1.1 million in punitive damages awarded, I would say that the jury felt pretty strongly that Ortho had not provided adequate warnings.
Since most of the cases are very similar, especially from a warnings perspective, it is a bad sign of things to come for Ortho.
The verdict is step in the right direction for the thousands of Americans who have been injured as a result of taking Levaquin and will hopefully get the ball rolling toward resolution.
The next bell weather trial should begin in the next few months and will provide a more accurate picture of exact how these cases will play out, but for now it looks like justice has prevailed.