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Fen-Phen Side Effects and PPH: After All This Time, There Is Still Hope

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Philadelphia, PARemember Fen-Phen? Sure you do, especially if you were overweight in the 1990s and looking for a quick and easy way to shed the excess pounds from all that fast food, combined with lack of exercise. Fen-Phen, a hybrid of fenfluramine and phentermine, had been given the blessing of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was touted as the miracle cure of the time for obesity.

That is, until people started getting sick with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Fen-Phen was soon pulled from the market and has been out of circulation for years. Many a Fen-Phen lawsuit was filed alleging their PPH (and PAH, or primary arterial hypertension, which is the updated term for PPH…) was triggered by their use of Fen-Phen. Many a Fen-Phen settlement followed.

Since then, given the prerequisite statute of limitations, one would assume any further lawsuits pertaining to Fen-Phen and PPH would not be possible.

Not so.

Akin to the latency period that occurs with asbestosis and mesothelioma that can see the emergence of disease delayed by decades following exposure, consumers of Fen-Phen hit with a diagnosis years after coming off the drug, can potentially circumvent the normal statute of limitations and file a Fen-Phen lawsuit.

As reported by Heidi Turner, a judge in 2012 refused to grant motions of summary judgment and dismissal as petitioned by Fen-Phen manufacturers, ruling that there was sufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate that PPH/PAH can remain latent and unobserved for onwards of 10 years following a full stop to the drug. The judge also refused to disallow testimony of expert witnesses for the plaintiffs.

Of course, a successful Fen-Phen case alleging primary pulmonary hypertension can hinge on the availability, breadth and depth of expert witness testimony - and sometimes when a potential causation is viewed as a grey area, the lawsuit is lost. This is what happened recently to plaintiffs Liza Valido-Shade and Tim Shade, when defendant Wyeth LLC moved for summary judgment and filed a Daubert motion on the grounds that testimony from the plaintiff’s case-specific causation experts should be excluded.

That motion was granted, and the case was lost. It is not known if the plaintiffs will appeal (Liza Valido-Shade, et al. v. Wyeth LLC, et al. United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania).

However, it does give pause for a potential plaintiff to consider a Fen-Phen lawsuit if signs of PPH or primary arterial hypertension begin to surface years after coming off Fen-Phen. In Liza Valido-Shade’s case, she used Fen-Phen for a number of months in 1996 and 1997.

She was diagnosed with primary arterial hypertension in 2010 - thirteen years after coming off the Fen-Phen diet pill.

No case or potential outcome is ever guaranteed. That said, a potential plaintiff can find solace in the fact that years after stopping the troubled Fen-Phen drug (pulled from the market by the FDA), it is still possible to circumvent normal statute of limitations and seek a Fen-Phen settlement for PPH or PAH. Plaintiffs are members of the Nationwide Class Action Settlement Agreement involving diet drugs, which was approved by the court in Pretrial Order (PTO) No. 1415. As part of the Settlement Agreement, claims involving primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), the former name for PAH, are excluded from the definition of settled claims. The Settlement Agreement contains a detailed definition of PPH. Those claiming PPH or PAH may sue Wyeth in the tort system.

If you took Fen-Phen in the ’90s and have become ill with PHA - and you suspect Fen-Phen side effects - it still may be possible to litigate. Contacting a Fen-Phen diet pill attorney might be a prudent thing to do.

READ ABOUT PPH AND FEN-PHEN LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

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I was part of the original class action lawsuit, but have heard NOTHING since 2003. I had the echocardiogram and it showed mild (stage 1?) mitral valve regurgitation. I have had a name change in the last 15 years, so how do I go about learning my status or reopening my case?

Posted by

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bad shape years afterphen fen

Posted by

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I took thin thin approximately 1996 or 1997 yes I lost weight very well, I was very thin and then came off the medication. Over the past 20 years I would say that I have been having deteriorating health for no apparent reason. I had no insurance so it was hard to find out what was wrong so in 2009 I had a stroke and since then I've been having testing done and now I've been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and given no longer than 5 years to live phen phen is the only thing that could have caused this it does not run in my family I have no other factors. My credit is ruined I have ungodly hospital bills, there's no way I will ever be able to pay.

Posted by

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I took Fen-Phen and was a member of the class action lawsuit. Before I ever saw my lawyer I had an echocardiogram done by a very distinguished group of cardiiologist. When I went to the attorney advertising in my area he insisted I get a new echo done by a traveling group doing echos in a hotel. Both of the echos showed I had severe mitral (sp?) valve regurgatation. My attorny said he could only send in one of the echos and that the group of attorneys he was working with wanted all the echos sent out by them to the Settlement Trust to come from the same echo team.
Well, I waited 4 years. I was flown by my attorney group from Reno, NV to Mississippi for another cardiologist to sign off on "yes. i indeed met all conditions". I received a POST AUDIT DETERMINATION LETTER and was to be paid out in May of ( i think it was 06). In April of 06, exactly two weeks before I was to have my settlement over once and for all, the trust said they were done and writing no further monies due to "attorney fraud". It really made me sick because I had TWO ECHOS one not even done through this attorney group or any attorwhaney group and they refused to even look at it. My problems are getting worse and worse and it is impossible for me to work full time due to my symptoms....so that means no insurance and once it is definetly time for the surgery, I will not be able to have it. Any suggestions on what I should do would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Cathy McCalister

Posted by

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I need help. I took Fen-Phen for two years and I develop pulmonary emboli in 2006, blood clots in both lungs, in my stomach. by my heart and two in my back. I had 40 percent chance to live. The doctors say they did not know how I survived. I now have insomnia, heart valve problems, I had to have 27 blood transfushion and now I am on disability that pays nothing. I had a 250,000.00 hospital bill at St. Dominic hospital. My credit is ruined for life. I cant even pay for some of my medication. Yes I received that money in 2001, but my hospital bills, doctor bills and medication has broke me and I think that is so unfair to me. Mark D took half of my money and gave it to another lady who had heart surgery an cost she had obtained two lawyers. I was the leading plaintiff who represented the case at my home town. I need my million dollars he gave to [her]. Her surgery wasn't cause by taking those diet drug, it was because child hood. Please help me.

Posted by

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I want to file a New lawsuit for PPH, and other problems that have raised. I settled for heart valve damage not for this. Why can't we find some one to help all of us having problems today after we settled years ago. A new Class action maybe.

Posted by

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Oh my goodness, yes if anyone is diagnosed with PPH or PAH and have taken fen-phen in the past please submit a lawsuit. I have personally known a dear young woman who was a nurse and succumbed to the demise of Fen- Phen. It caused a terrific, horrible death. I work in drug safety and know this drug never should have never been approved by the FDA.

Posted by

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Took Fen-Phen late 1990's, but was always told nothing I could about it, I now need a Heart valve replacement, take Blood thinners for chronic Blood clots, not sure if due to Fen-Phen Prestina Huff

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I was rejected from the first class action and missed the grid criteria by a few points. Since then I have suffered disability and have been under the care of the most well known and famous PAH or PPH surgeon Roblee Allen (the head of Pulomonary surgery at UC DAVIS SACRAMENTO) and taking Warfarin and Lopressor plus 2 very expensive ADCIRCA plus several other medications everyday since 2005

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