It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Two companies have been accused of marketing dangerous products. Both are accused of knowing their products were dangerous since at least 2007 and deceiving regulators about the dangers. One has recalled over 8 million units, been called to testify publicly before congress and pay a modest $16.4 million fine. The other has recalled no product, paid no fine, and continues to profit from its dangerous product. One of these products has killed less than 50 people, the other twice that many every month. The company that has been fined is Toyota, whose defective automobiles are thought to have killed around 35 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), although this number has not yet been confirmed. The company that has not been fined is GlaxoSmithKline, and the product that is still on the market, that may be killing 100 people every month, is the diabetes drug Avandia.
Many people haven’t heard of Avandia, but in 2007, the drug grossed over $3.7 billion in sales (probably half of Toyota’s gross income on the Corolla in the US that year) and even today is taken by hundreds of thousands of Americans to help control their type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Although type 2 diabetes is associated with heart attack risks, there is evidence that Avandia may increase that risk by 40% and increase the risk of sudden cardiac death by over 60%. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the drug ranked first among all prescribed drugs in the number of serious side effects reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including 304 deaths.
In another post, I discuss reasons why Avandia has not been pulled from the market by the FDA, but another big question is why so little media attention has been given to this major danger to the American public. While the Toyota recalls have occupied front-page and lead-off positions in all news media outlets, Avandia has caused barely a stir.
If you have been injured by any kind of defective product, whether a defective pharmaceutical drug, a defective car, or a defective consumer product, the product liability lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack CO., LPA can help. Please call or email us today for a free initial consultation.