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Case Against Ortho Evra Patch Gaining Momentum

Thanks to Whistleblower, more users of the Ortho Evra Patch will become aware of its risks.

New York, NY / OLM News / Jan-31-07: Dr. Joel Lippman was employed by Johnson & Johnson for 15 years and was vice president of clinical trials for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., makers of contraceptives. When he voiced serious health concerns over the dangerously high levels of estrogen in the Ortho Evra patch, Lippman was fired for "inappropriate action."

Ortho Evra has been marketed to well over four million women, so it is somewhat surprising that only 1,000 product liability suits have been filed to date. But that may change. Thanks in part to his civil complaint, Lippman has revealed (yet again) to the public how drug companies don't police themselves, and how the FDA has to depend upon the data from the drug company in order to approve (or deny) its drug application. Now, Johnson & Johnson cannot hide so easily behind its facade.

In the past month alone, the law firm of Hariton & D'Angelo in New York has seen about a dozen pulmonary embolism cases. (Most cases, in some individuals as young as 15, involve blood clots and pulmonary embolisms and some strokes.)

This wasn't to be expected because it is a fairly mature tort and the case has been heavily marketed during the past 18 months. By now, D'Angelo expected cases to have been discovered, at the very least. But users are still coming forward because the Ortho Evra patch is still on the market -- the TV ads alone hook new users daily. D'Angelo anticipates many more filings in the wake of the Lippman suit, possibly in the tens of thousands.

D'Angelo predicts that cases truly meritorious are the ones that Johnson & Johnson will want to dispose of before trial so the public doesn't learn the truth -- the company doesn't want certain documents to come out during discovery.

The FDA clearly hasn't done enough. The only people to stand between the drug companies and the public to guard against this kind of conduct are the lawyers and the whistleblowers. To this day, OrthoMcNeill still hasn't adjusted the estrogen dosage in the US -- in Canada, the estrogen level is halved. Although the warning label in the US has changed, it is still far from adequate.

Further information about Ortho Evra

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