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Judge Denies Sanofi-Aventis' Motion to Dismiss

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St. Clair, ILIn a victory for plaintiffs, a judge in St. Clair County has denied a motion by Sanofi-Aventis to dismiss or transfer 59 claims against the company regarding its antibiotic, Ketek. The judge found that Sanofi-Aventis did not show that St. Clair County was an inadequate forum for the cases and refused to dismiss claims from plaintiffs in other states.

Ketek VictimAccording to the St. Clair Record, the lawsuits were filed in 2007, alleging Ketek injured patients who used the drug to treat respiratory infections. The plaintiffs claim that Sanofi-Aventis knew there was a risk of injury or death from liver failure related to the use of Ketek, but failed to properly warn patients about that risk.

Patients who took Ketek for sinus infections suffered serious side effects and some may not fully recover. Stephen A. says that in only a couple of days of taking Ketek, he suffered from a terrible reaction, including a high fever, numbness and hallucinations. "Within the first day of taking Ketek I got sicker overall, but by the second day I experienced the most horrifying effects I've ever had," Stephen says. His doctor told him that his immune system was shutting down and took him off Ketek, but Stephen says he will never be the same.

Amber I. says her father died from respiratory failure after taking only 2 doses of Ketek. "My father was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis 1 year before taking Ketek," Amber says. He died the day after he was prescribed Ketek for his bronchitis. "In 2006, the warning label for the use of Ketek in patients with myasthenia gravis was strengthened and now indicates respiratory failure occurs."

Karen H. says her life has been completely changed by Ketek. "I was prescribed Ketek by a pulmonary doctor for bronchitis," Karen says. "Two days later my liver went into shock taking my kidney down with it. My lungs failed and I was put on a ventilator 2 times during the 38 days I was in the ICU. I almost died several times." Although it has been over 2 years since her ordeal, Karen says that she has not regained the full use of her left leg and does not know what health problems may be in store for her later in life, including possible permanent liver damage.

Ketek has been linked to at least 4 patient deaths and additional cases of liver failure and drug-induced hepatitis. Some patients have required a liver transplant while others have endured long hospital stays so that they could fully recover. Ketek was approved by the FDA to treat bacterial infections, including chronic bronchitis, acute bacterial sinusitis and pneumonia.

In 2006, the FDA ordered Sanofi-Aventis to strengthen its warnings about Ketek to include a warning about the risk of potentially fatal liver failure. The label also includes a warning about possible fatal worsening of myasthenia gravis, ordered after 3 reported deaths of patients with the neuromuscular condition.


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