Virginia: Special Cases – A Lawyer’s Concerta

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The Trial Lawyer is the quarterly journal for The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Its issue for Fall 2016 covers three deadly “health” industry products.

First, “Concerta Teen Suicide Link – Is This Drug Appropriate?” marquees the alarmingly increased rate of “ADHD” prescriptions of Concerta manufactured by Johnson & Johnson through its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary; the frequently documented “suicidal tendencies and uncharacteristically aggressive behaviors among children and adolescents who have been ‘treated’ with Concerta;” and Concerta’s other “potentially deadly side effects – which also include an elevated risk of heart attacks, breathing difficulties and spikes in blood pressure”. Id. at 27. Second, “Industry Intentionally Marketed Talcum Powder Knowing Of Cancer Risk” exposes how Johnson & Johnson has sold cancer-causing talc infused with “very evocative scents” for 125 years. Id. at 26. Third, “Nexium And Prilosec Linked To Kidney Damage, Heart Damage And Bone Fractures” summarizes a study of the Houston Methodist Research Institute recently published in Circulation Research, which showed arterial damage, chromosomal damage, magnesium depletion, and more. Id. at 28.

The Fall 2016 issue of The Trial Lawyer also features another related article: “BIG PHARMA IS BRIBING DOCTORS TO PUSH DEADLY DRUGS”. Id. at 38-41. Although free junkets for doctors do not proliferate now, drug manufacturers still ply docs with lucrative speaking engagements (with some docs garnering an astounding $28,000,000.00 – $43,900,000.00) as, “study investigators” recruited to prescribe drugs versus to establish efficiency (including 772 for 1 drug launch); with continuing medical education for free and/or for product damage control; and especially with free meals that demonstrably predispose the doctors to reciprocate by prescribing. Id. at 40-41. The concluding section entitled “Free Lunches Still Common – And Sway Prescribing” cites that a “recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that even a lowly $20 meal resulted in more prescriptions for Pharma”. Id. at 41. The study found that docs who received even 1 free meal were 18%, 52%, 70%, and even 118% more likely to prescribe certain brand-name drugs of the donating manufacturer, even though significantly less costly generic equivalents were available for their patients. Id.

Mr. Waterman is a charter member of The Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Virginia. His practice focuses on medical malpractice, vehicle accidents, and other cases of wrongful death, brain injury and other serious personal injury.