Noteworthy Class Action and Mass Tort Settlements of the Last 15 years
Darvocet is certainly not the first drug to be placed in the national spotlight for causing harm to the masses, and the question on everyone’s mind is, what can be expected in a Darvocet lawsuit settlement?
When the drug companies and the medical supply manufacturers harm innocent people, the law provides a monetary remedy. Over the years, these entities have paid substantial lawsuit settlements to those who have suffered serious physical injuries, incurred outrageous medical costs, lost earnings, and experienced an overall diminished quality of life.
Here is a look back at some of the most famous (and biggest) pharmaceutical settlements of the last 15 years:
Defendant: Dow Corning (Silicone Breast Implants)
In 1998, Dow Corning paid $ 3.2 billion to settle the 300,000 claims brought by women who suffered various injuries and illness as a result of their silicone breast implants. The claims included injuries such as hardening of the breast tissue, implant rupture, and autoimmune disorders such as lupus. Under the settlement plan, women who asserted a disease claim were allotted compensatory awards ranging from $12,000.00 to $300,000.00. Payment to women whose implants ruptured was to be capped at $25,000.00. Additional provisions in the amount of $5,000.00 were made for women who elected to have their implants removed and in the amount of $2,000.00 for women who chose to settle their claims without submitting to any questions.
Defendant: American Home Products Corporation (Fen-phen; Fenfluramine and Phentermine)
In 1999 the makers of the diet pill combination known as “Fen-phen” agreed to a national settlement of $3.75 billion to resolve the claims brought by thousands of people who were injured after taking the drugs. The claimants suffered heart valve injuries and other cardiac and respiratory problems. The settlement translated into a range of payouts from reimbursement for those who took the medication for only a short time to $ 1.5 million for those who suffered a heart valve injury. The agreement split the settlement into 2 separate funds designated for particular claims, one of which was to remain open for 16 years, leaving the drug maker exposed to increased liability over time. The settlement applied to about 90% of the claimants. Approximately 5,000 additional plaintiffs opted out of the national settlement plan, exposing the defendant to potentially billions of more dollars in liability payments.
Defendant: Merck (Vioxx)
Vioxx, like Darvocet, was a painkiller taken off the market in 2004 when a study conclusively exposed a deadly link to heart attack and stroke. In 2007, Merck made a $ 4.85 billion settlement deal to resolve the nearly 50,000 lawsuits brought against the drug maker. Merck set up a fund to cover the claims ranging from fatal heart attack and stroke to lesser injuries. Heart attack cases averaged a settlement amount of $186,825.00, with fatal heart attack awards reaching as high as $1.79 million. Average stroke claims were paid out $61,165.00. The settlement is one of the largest ever in civil litigation.
Defendant: Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals (Darvocet)
The FDA issued its ban of Darvocet, Darvon, and other generic propoxyphene in November, 2010. Litigation is just getting underway. It will likely be some time before those injured by Darvocet will be rewarded with the settlements they surely deserve. For now, it will be interesting to watch as the litigation unfolds. Hopefully the makers of Darvocet will be willing to enter negotiations with the thousands of claimants likely to come forward. With any luck, a discussion of the next big Darvocet settlement won’t be too far off.