Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical and Walgreen

St. Louis-based law firm Carey & Danis LLC announces the filing of four civil lawsuits on behalf of twenty plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., the makers of the powerful antibiotic Levaquin, as well as the Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG), which sells the drug.

Levaquin (known generically as levofloxacin) belongs to a family of potent antibiotics, the fluoroquinolones, that has been linked to serious side effects, including tendinitis and tendon rupture. The risk is increased in patients over the age of 60. The lawyers of Carey & Danis are currently investigating over 1,200 potential claims involving the drug.

The four lawsuits filed on Sept. 2 on behalf of 20 plaintiffs include:

  • Moore, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., in the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Ill.
  • Hildebrandt, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., in the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Ill.
  • Doles, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., in the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Ill.
  • Price, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County, Ill.

The lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil promoted Levaquin as a safe and effective treatment for lung, sinus, skin and urinary tract infections. However, the suits claim, these defendants knew for years that Levaquin causes tendinitis and severe tendon rupture at rates higher than those seen with other antibiotics. It is alleged that the defendants tried to thwart early efforts to warn patients of the risks by manipulating study data and that they downplayed the risks to physicians.

The lawsuits assert state law claims against Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil of strict liability, negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and unjust enrichment. Against the Walgreen Co. the suits assert claims of failure to warn and negligence.

“The makers of Levaquin buried the warning of tendon injuries even as the number of adverse events associated with Levaquin exploded,” explains Corey D. Sullivan of Carey & Danis. “Even today, the drug label fails to alert physicians and prescribing healthcare providers that Levaquin is more toxic to tendons than the other fluoroquinolones available on the U.S. market.”

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