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Big Pharma is Accused of Putting Profits Before Safety

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Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Big Pharma is Accused of Putting Profits Before Safety

By John Cooper, Norfolk Dangerous Drugs Attorney

The amount of money made by the big pharmaceutical companies every year is staggering. I never cease to be amazed by their lack of morality and their dire track record of putting dollars above patient safety time after time.

As well as the countless mass tort actions that are brought by those who have been harmed by drugs and devices, big pharma, the nickname for the world's vast and influential pharmaceutical industry, has faced fines from regulators and criminal actions.

For instance, Merck faces a federal lawsuit for alleged vaccine fraud, reported Health Impact News. It’s related to claims it falsified data about its mumps vaccine.  Two former Merck scientists filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The scientists say Merck won’t answer a key question about how effective the product is, according to court documents.

In 2012, British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline admitted criminal charges and agreed to pay $3 billion in fines for promoting antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug.

The fine concerned the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The big fine came in the year that Abbott Laboratories settled a case for $1.6 billion over the marketing of Depakote, an anti-seizure drug, reported the New York Times.


Pfizer, has been sued by pharmacy retailers for what is alleged as an "overarching anticompetitive scheme" to keep cheaper, generic cholesterol drugs off the market, boosting its already inflated profits. Fines against big drug companies are nothing now but appear to have risen in recent years.


Drug Companies Face Mass Tort Lawsuits

While big payouts to the feds make headlines, the large drug companies are also facing thousands of lawsuits from those who have been hurt by their drugs and the families of those who have lost loved ones.

Johnson & Johnson, for example, faces lawsuits over Ripserdal, which is linked to breast growth in boys, and talcum powder, which is linked to ovarian cancer in women. The company’s defective artificial hips led to a $2.5 billion payout. The company, along with Bayer, manufactures Xarelto, a blood thinner that’s link to hundreds of deaths from uncontrolled bleeding. Last year Johnson & Johnson earned over $4 billion.

A number of big pharmaceutical companies including Ethicon and Bard, manufacture transvaginal mesh, which is the subject of more than 60,000 lawsuits from women who encountered serious complications from the mesh product.

GlaxoSmithKline, the company that was fined $3 billion by the feds, four years ago, is facing multiple lawsuits over Zofran  a drug that has been used off label for morning sickness. It’s linked to birth defects in unborn children.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a dangerous drug, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077 or see our section on dangerous drugs.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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