Walgreen’s Illegally Distributes Controlled Substances

Is Walgreen,s Pharmacy really “at the Corner of Happy and Healthy”, like their motto claims? Maybe not…

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The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) caught Walgreen’s Pharmacy red-handed.  Allegations claim they were knowingly and  illegally distributing controlled substances to known abusers and drug dealers. The DEA found an “unprecedented” number of record-keeping and dispensing violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

Walgreen’s agreed to an $80 million settlement to put the matter to rest.  Part of the deal required Walgreen’s to publicly admit that it had failed to comply with its responsibilities as a DEA registrant. Although they claim they do all they can to stop this activity, there is evidence it is still occurring, even after the large sum of money they were required to pay. According to a recent blog article on bytegeist.com, Walgreen’s is more concerned with making a dollar than the health of its customers.

How Does This Effect Me? 

I have written many times about the problem of prescription drug addiction in America. It is crucial to shut down the supply chains if this problem is ever going to be eliminated. Unlike illicit drugs,  prescription drug dealers aren’t standing on dimly lit street corners in the rough areas of town. To the contrary, much of the supply comes from doctors, pharmacies and clinics who are licensed to distribute  controlled substances. With this license, however, comes the responsibility of complying with the law. Unfortunately, many do not comply, and this effects all of us.

Controlled substances may only be prescribed and dispensed for a legitimate medical purpose. When this fundamental premise isn’t followed, illegal distribution and abuse emerge. Narcotics find their way into the hands of addicts and dealers who sell them illegally on the black market. Sadly, the prescription drug black market makes its way into schools and homes, and destroys lives and families. 

Kudos to the Drug Enforcement Agency for getting the attention of one national pharmaceutical chain. Let’s hope it sends a loud message to the others. We all must do our part, as they are, to stop this epidemic in America.

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Women and Statins: Lipitor Linked to Heightened Risk of Developing Diabetes

Countless women have been put at risk by pharmaceutical companies peddling their cholesterol lowering medications. Statins, or lipid-lowering medications, have become a part of our vernacular. In today’s culture, 15 million people take statins to lower their cholesterol.

The nature of the drug, which inhibits the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase and controls the cholesterol production in the liver, is appealing to those who suffer from high cholesterol.

However, women have not been told the entire truth about the safety of this increasingly popular medication.

A commonly overlooked truth about the statin class of medicines is that women who take statins are at a considerably higher risk of developing diabetes than their non-statin-consuming counterparts.

A 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that postmenopausal women who take statins are placed at an increased risk for developing diabetes mellitus. This study, known as the Women’s Health Initiative, showed a 48% increased risk for diabetes in women taking statins.

An additional study revealed that worsening glycemic control occurred more frequently with atorvastatin, commonly known as the popular drug Lipitor, than with pravastatin, commonly known as Pravachol.

In response to the mounting evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would require changes to the labels of statin drugs:

“Increases in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) have been reported with statin use. The FDA is also aware of studies showing that patients being treated with statins may have a small increased risk of increased blood sugar levels and of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

At this time, the FDA does not recommend that patients be discontinued from their statin therapy in spite of the now known increased risk for diabetes.  Amy G. Egan, MD, MPH, Deputy Director for Safety in the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products at the FDA, states:

 “Elevations in blood sugar levels should be treated with dietary and lifestyle management and/or adjustment or initiation of anti-diabetic therapies. We do not consider this a reason to not continue or not initiate statins, particularly in the diabetic population where patients are at increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events and statin therapy has been shown to reduce that risk.”

My advice is that if you aren’t currently taking a statin drug, try to manage your cholesterol with diet and exercise. There are resources available to you on AdvoKAYte to help you determine some alternatives.

If you are already taking a statin, particularly Lipitor, discuss a cholesterol-lowering diet (preferably a plant-based diet) with your doctor. At a minimum, you should speak with your doctor about switching you to a drug in the statin class other than Lipitor.

If you are on Lipitor and have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, you should speak with a Lipitor lawyer to discuss your particular situation and learn whether you may be eligible to make a claim against Pfizer.

I am currently investigating claims on behalf of women who meet the following criteria:

  • Are under age 60
  • Have a BMI less than 30 (if you don’t know your BMI, you can easily calculate it by clicking this link to an online BMI calculator)
  • Have taken Lipitor for at least a year
  • Have been diagnosed with diabetes

Please visit my law firm website, VanWeyLaw.com, email me at [email protected], or call 800-489-5082 to discuss your situation with me.

Need more information? Learn more about Lipitor lawsuits.

Stay up-to-date on Lipitor news and other issues that could affect your health and safety by subscribing to AdvoKAYte, or follow me on any of my social channels:

 

 

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Elderly Pradaxa Patients Most at Risk for Serious Bleeding Events

An elderly Utah man suffered a Pradaxa serious bleeding event after sustaining minor trauma in a fall. Doctors worry that minor falls in elderly Pradaxa patients may be disastrous because Pradaxa has no antidote.

 When an 83 year-old man went to University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah after falling at home and suffering minor trauma, his doctors never imagined he would suffer a Pradaxa serious bleeding event.

Minor Trauma Can Cause a Pradaxa Serious Bleeding Event

A case report featured in the Journal of Neurosurgery details that the 83 year-old man had been prescribed Pradaxa just a month before by his primary care physician who had diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation.  Upon arriving at the hospital, the man exhibited no signs of impairment, and a brain scan showed that he had only small hemorrhages of little concern.

Within just two hours of being admitted to the hospital though, the man’s condition began to deteriorate.  New brain scans showed he was suffering from extensive intracranial hemorrhaging.  His doctors could do little but stand by and watch as he slipped into a coma. 

The neurosurgeons who treated the man wrote this case report to alert other healthcare providers to the fact that Pradaxa has no known antidote.  In fact, the doctors attempted to stop the hemorrhaging in the 83 year-old by giving him intravenous fluids and recombinant factor VIIa, which is often used to clot blood, but both treatments were ineffective.

The authors noted that because Pradaxa is broken down through the kidneys, dialysis may be the only way to reverse the effects of Pradaxa, but because bleeding events happen so suddenly, dialysis is often ineffective to stop the bleeding.

What is Pradaxa?

Pradaxa is an anticoagulant that is widely prescribed to prevent strokes and blood clots in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation.  But these elderly patients are often unstable on their feet and are prone to falling, which can cause minor trauma and major hemorrhaging.  Experts worry that as Pradaxa is more widely prescribed to older, frailer patients, the number of serious bleeding events will increase.

Worldwide, Pradaxa has been linked to 260 deaths as of November 2011.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety communication for Pradaxa in December 2011, saying that it would study Pradaxa’s side effects to determine the risk of severe bleeding.  In the United States, an estimated 120 deaths have been blamed on Pradaxa serious bleeding events.

While the FDA studies these adverse events, trial lawyers across the nation are standing up for consumer rights, asking manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim for answers.  Pradaxa lawsuits have been filed in U.S. district courts across the nation, alleging that Boehringer Ingelheim knew about the bleeding risks, but provided no antidote and continued to market and sell Pradaxa anyway.

To learn more about Pradaxa serious bleeding events and get the latest news on Pradaxa, visit www.vanweylaw.com.  Pradaxa is not the first dangerous drug to be approved by the FDA, and it certainly will not be the last.  To learn more about dangerous drug approvals, download my free ebook Prescription Drug Safety: 7 Secrets the Pharmaceutical Company Does Not Want You to Know at www.vanweylaw.com

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Darvocet, Darvon and Propoxyphene Products Liability Update

On August 16, 2011, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation “MDL Panel” created a new multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) for Darvocet, Darvon, and Propoxyphene products liability cases, finding that centralization of these cases is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1407.  The MDL Panel decided to centralize the cases in the Eastern District of Kentucky (Covington Division).  With the consent of that court, the cases will be assigned to Judge Danny C. Reeves.  Accordingly, the MDL Panel ordered transfer of the seventeen actions before it for consideration to the Eastern District of Kentucky (Covington Division).

Defendant drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies opposed centralization of the cases.  However, the Panel sided with the plaintiffs, who argued for centralization on the grounds that all of these cases share complex questions of fact concerning the safety of Darvocet, Darvon and Propoxyphene.  According to the Panel, the cases share factual issues as to 1) whether Darvocet, Darvon, and other medications containing Propoxyphene were defectively designed and marketed, 2) which defendants manufactured, licensed, or sold Propoxyphene products during various times, and 3) whether defendants knew or should have known of the increased risk of cardiovascular injuries with these medications and failed to provide adequate warnings of them. 
 
The MDL concerns cardiovascular injuries associated with Darvocet, Darvon and other medications containing Propoxyphene.  However, the MDL Panel left open the question of what particular cardiovascular-related injuries are or are not appropriate for inclusion in this MDL. 
 
Darvocet, Darvon, and Propoxyphene products were removed from the U.S. market in December 2010 because the risk of cardiac complications and deaths related to the drugs outweighed the benefits that the drugs afforded for pain relief.  Since then, about thirty-five cases have been filed against the companies responsible for manufacturing the drugs.  Many more cases are expected to be filed in the future.
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