The makers of Levaquin, the antibiotic increasingly associated with tendon and joint damage, have a new problem to contend with in the ongoing legal struggles associated with the medicine. A collection of 96 plaintiffs from multiple states filed a joint lawsuit against Ortho-McNeil in St. Clair County, Ill.

This lawsuit has the potential to show the widespread risk that Levaquin poses to patients. Unlike other medicines prescribed very narrowly, such as the controversial GERD medication Reglan, Levaquin is prescribed for numerous bacterial infections ranging from respiratory illness to urinary tract conditions. The patients filing the suit claim to have been prescribed Levaquin for just such a variety of cases, meaning if this case goes forward, it will have a bearing on many such situations.

The claims made in the case follow a similar pattern to those that have been filed previously. The plaintiffs argue that they were not provided adequate warning about the potential risks that Levaquin posed. Further, they claim that the warnings, which did exist, were only part of a very long list of potential side effects and had no specifying information. For example, multiple plaintiffs in the case allege that they were not given warning that the risk was higher for patients of a certain age, or those undergoing specific courses of other treatment.

The specific charges made include liability concerns, as well as allegations that Ortho-McNeil violated specific Illinois fraud regulations. The plaintiffs are seeking a variety of compensations, including damages done, costs for pre- and post-trial affairs and any other judgments and relief that the court sees fit to provide.

The specific defendants named are Ortho-McNeil, parent company Johnson and Johnson and the drugstore Walgreens. The pharmaceutical companies are named for their roles in the manufacture and testing of Levaquin, whereas Walgreens is named because it is alleged they sold the product while knowing full well of the effects it might cause.


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