Many drug injury lawsuits are being filed against drug manufacturing giants such as Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline. In 2010 alone, billions of dollars have been settled against these companies. These lawsuits have one thing in common: They were filed because plaintiffs accuse the drug manufacturers of hiding data that proved that popular drugs like Effexor, Paxil, Levaquin, Reglan and Yaz/Yasmin had devastating and potentially life-threatening side effects.

Antidepressant SSRIs like Paxil and Effexor took fire under claims that they hid their severe side effects such as seizures, hallucinations, birth defects, PPHN, severe mood swings and even suicide. In fact, the manufacturer of Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline, has paid out as much as $1 billion in damages to settle various claims against the drug, including a $750 million settlement the company reached over its “bad” manufacturing procedures at Glaxo’s Cidra, Puerto Rico, plant. The whistleblower in that case recently appeared on 60 Minutes.

Johnson & Johnson lost its first lawsuit regarding its popular antibiotic Levaquin in 2010. Eighty-two-year-old plaintiff John Schedin won his claim that the company did not properly disclose the fact that the drug caused tendon ruptures in certain patients. In addition, Bayer has taken on a series of lawsuits that have yet to be decided regarding its birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin; in these suits, plaintiffs claim that Bayer hid the fact that the pills can cause heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.

All of these companies have been accused of hiding the adverse side effects that these drugs pose from the public. Some companies were accused of going out of their way to hide this information completely; others were accused of burying the black box warnings deeply within package inserts; and still other companies were accused of using clever marketing techniques as a means of hiding the severe side effects of their drugs from the public.

While the future of all of these lawsuits cannot be determined with accuracy until they either are settled or go to trial, one thing remains certain: 2010 was a landmark year for lawsuits being filed against drug manufacturers.