Seattle – LAWFUEL – The Law Firm Newswire – Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro filed a lawsuit today against Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and Schering Corporation (NYSE:SGP), claiming its antibiotic drug Tequin causes severe blood-sugar issues in some patients which could lead to debilitating long-term healthcare issues including diabetes, and death.
Tequin and its generic equivalent gatifloxacin was commonly prescribed for sinus, lung, and urinary tract infections, as well as other illnesses.
According to Rob Carey, lead attorney from HBSS, safety concerns regarding Tequin began to surface in 2001, two years after the drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, when medical literature began suggesting a link between Tequin and dysglycemia among diabetics and non-diabetics.
“We plan to show the court that Bristol-Myers Squibb was aware of the risks at this time, but did little except change some aspects of labeling which we believe downplayed the risks dramatically,” said Carey.
According to the complaint, Springfield, Missouri, resident Patrick Bills developed severe hyperglycemia and new onset diabetes while taking Tequin for a skin infection.
“We believe there is a direct connection between Pat’s diabetes and his use of Tequin, a situation we are afraid is very common among Tequin users,” Carey said.
The complaint states that pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) knew or should have known that Tequin could cause severe blood sugar problems and diabetes in patients who took the drug.
Today’s court action claims that the pharmaceutical company ignored mounting reports of diabetes-related problems until February 2006 when – in conjunction with the FDA – it added a warning to the label that diabetics should not take Tequin. However, the newly added warning label did not include any danger to non-diabetic patients, which the plaintiff was.
“Adding a warning label for diabetic patients, years after the drug’s introduction does not address the serious concern of non-diabetic patients developing diabetes and falls seriously short of their responsibility to the public,” said Carey.
According to the complaint Bills began taking Tequin in March of 2005. Less than a year later he began experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia including extreme thirst, frequent urination, and vision changes. In late January of 2006 Bills was diagnosed with severe hyperglycemia and diabetes.
Before Bills began taking Tequin he was very healthy and active and had not exhibited any symptoms of either of the conditions he was diagnosed with in 2006, the complaint notes.
A Canadian study cited in the March 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that Tequin users had 17 times greater risk of developing serious diabetes and four times greater risk of being hospitalized with low blood sugar complications than patients using other antibiotics.
On May 2, 2006, Bristol-Myers Squibb quietly announced to its shareholders that it would stop making and selling Tequin; however, drugs that were already in pharmacies and in doctor’s offices throughout the country were still being prescribed and without adequate warning, the complaint states.
According to Carey, significant injury that could have been prevented had already occurred and BMS allowed that to continue as a direct result of the company’s irresponsible negligence of the facts.
Common symptoms caused by abnormally low or high blood sugar include nervousness, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, passing out, and confusion. Blood sugar disorders have also been shown to cause low blood pressure that may result in heart attack or renal failure.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Southern District Court in New York, lists nine different counts against Bristol-Meyers Squib and Schering Corporation and seeks compensatory and punitive damages for Bills who was prescribed Tequin without receiving full disclosure of possible side effects.
For more information and to view the complaint, please visit http://www.hbsslaw.com.
About Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is based in Seattle with offices in Chicago, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco. Since the firm’s founding in 1993, it has developed a nationally recognized practice in class-action and complex litigation. Among recent successes, HBSS has negotiated a pending $300 million settlement as lead counsel in the DRAM memory antitrust litigation; a $340 million recovery on behalf of Enron employees which is awaiting distribution; a $150 million settlement involving charges of illegally inflated charges for the drug Lupron, and served as co-counsel on the Visa/Mastercard litigation which resulted in a $3 billion settlement, the largest anti-trust settlement to date. HBSS also served as counsel in a $850 million settlement in the Washington Public Power Supply litigation and represented Washington and 12 other states in lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in the largest settlement in the history of litigation. For a complete listing of HBSS cases, visit www.hbsslaw.com.