An Employment and Civil Rights Trial Lawyer Discusses Women’s Health and Trial Lawyers
This is another in my “what would life be like without trial lawyers?” (and jury trials) series. Glad everyone is enjoying it.
The Pharmaceutical Industry has marketed estrogen supplements as “menopause treatments” since 1942, even with known links to breast cancer, heart attacks and blood clots. Despite recommendations from health experts, the Global HRT market is expected to be worth 3 billion dollars by 2017. The only thing standing in the drug companies’ way is the civil justice system – juries and trial lawyers.
In 2012, Pfizer was forced to pay $896,000,000.00 to settle claims that its hormone replacement drugs caused cancer. The company faces another 4,000 cases.
More than 230,000 women suffered pelvic infections, miscarriages, still births, infertility and deaths due to the Dalkon Shield. AH Robbins knew that its contraceptive IUD caused fatal infections, but fought to keep the device on the market. By 1975, the FDA reported that it knew at least 15 fatal and 245 non-fatal septic abortions, among a host of other problems, caused by the Shield. But it was not until 1980, after lawsuits publicly revealed the extent of the problem, that the company finally agreed to issue a letter to doctors recommending the removal of the device.
As many as 70,000 women have vaginal mesh devices implanted each year. However, the devices cause organ perforation, infection and numerous other side effects. Early models were eventually recalled, but later versions went to market without FDA approval — and sometimes even without FDA knowledge — because of the rules that allow medical device manufacturers to sell products claimed to be “similar” to prior products, even if they are known to be dangerous. By 2011, the FDA knew of at least 2,874 adverse events. Facing 4,000 lawsuits from injured patients, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling its mesh device in 2012. Other mesh implants, however, are still heavily marketed and surgically implanted.
DePuy Orthopedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, began receiving complaints about its acetabular hip replacement system immediately after its 2009 introduction. Doctors reported the device shed large quantities of metallic debris and frequently caused infection, fractures, dislocations, necrosis and nerve damage. DePuy’s internal documents showed the company expected 40% of the devices to fail, but decided not to fix these flaws. The device remained on the market for five (5) years until sails were finally halted in 2010. In 2013, Johnson and Johnson agreed to pay over $4,000,000,000.00 to settle thousands of cases.
What caused all of these changes to make women’s health concerns of greater priority in this country? Was it political activism? Was it the government? Was it agencies? Was it the “honesty and integrity” (what a laugh!!) of corporations?
No. It’s the same thing it always is: the people at the front lines. The trial lawyers and the juries protecting the rights of women and the rights of all individuals and working people across the country. Jury trials and trial lawyers are the way to equalize power and balance corporate money.