The Case Against Fen-Phen Diet Pills

If you were prescribed the diet pill known as “Fen-Phen” in the late 1990s and have since developed primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), you may have a valid legal claim. If this describes a family member of yours, you may have a legal claim on behalf of their estate and should consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney for help filing a Fen-Phen drug claim.

Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is an incurable condition that often leads to heart failure and death. More recently, the medical community has rigorously defined terms related to Pulmonary Hypertension (“PH”). Thus, your diagnosis may be PPH, or also be named, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (“PAH”). PAH could include Ideopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (“IPAH”), or even PAH, related to diet drugs.

Regardless of the terms used for the deadly disease (such as PPH, PAH, IPAH or PAH related to diet drugs) if you have developed this sickness in the backdrop of diet drug use, you may have a claim and should consult with our firm regarding your legal rights. Wyeth’s diet drugs have been conclusively shown through scientific studies to dramatically increase the risk of PPH, Wyeth manufactured the “FEN” in fen-phen, (known generically as fenfluramine and by Wyeth’s brand name, “Pondimin). Wyeth also marketed “dexfen” (known generically as dexfenfluramine and by Wyeth’s brand name, Redux).

Fenfluramine (brand name: Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (brand name: Redux) were marketed and sold by Wyeth. At the time these drugs were sold, Wyeth was named American Home Products Company (“AHP”). AHP had pharmaceutical subsidiaries and divisions, for instance, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Later, after the dangers of these diet drug products were revealed, AHP changed its name simply to Wyeth, and still later was bought by Pfizer, Inc., the largest drug company in the world.

Wyeth did not voluntarily withdraw these drugs from the market despite the fact Wyeth (for literally years) had more than enough information to show that the risks of these diet drugs clearly outweighed their benefits. Instead, in September 1997, the FDA–based on its own studies–strongly advised Wyeth to withdraw these drugs and Wyeth complied.

Wyeth’s Liability for Damages

Like other pharmaceutical (drug) manufacturers, Wyeth had a legal duty to ensure that products it put on the U.S. market were safe and effective when used as directed. Such a manufacturer is obligated to test their product in a proper clinical manner prior to offering it to consumers, and continue to monitor its drugs for unexpected dangerous side effects that may have not been revealed by initial testing.

Further, a manufacturer is responsible for properly and fully reporting adverse events caused by medical products to the FDA and for promptly and effectively responding to such events with corrective action to avoid future injury and harm.

When a manufacturer fails in its duty to keep consumers safe and that failure causes harm, the manufacturer can be held liable. It may be made to pay for the past, present, and future financial losses and expenses, and for the injured parties’ pain and suffering.

The drug and medical device injury lawyers at Becker Law Office believe there is sufficient evidence to show that Wyeth was negligent in its warnings regarding the safety of Pondimin (fenfluramine) and Redux (dexfenfluramine) for long-term use as diet drugs. Wyeth failed to adequately monitor and then failed to adequately warn physicians and their patients regarding the true risks and benefits of these drugs.

The diet pill injury lawyers of Becker Law Office believe that Wyeth should be held accountable if anyone prescribed Pondimin (fenfluramine) or Redux (dexfenfluramine) has been harmed by either of these drugs. We continue to pursue claims on behalf of fen-phen users in Kentucky and elsewhere who have developed primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH).

Remember: a $3.75 billion national settlement program ended lawsuits pertaining to the development of heart damage in fen-phen users. It did not cover people stricken with PPH. These cases continue to progress through the courts and to be filed for victims who come forward.

Diet Pills Linked to Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Fen-phen is a combination of fenfluramine, which is an appetite depressant, and phentermine, a drug similar but not identical to amphetamine. Dexfenfluramine (“Dexfen”) is another one of Wyeth’s diet drug chemically related to fenfluramine.

The fenfluramine derivatives (which are both fenfluramine (Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (Redux) were products of pharmaceutical divisions of American Home Products Company (“AHP”). AHP after the withdraw of its diet drugs from the market changed its name to Wyeth, and then was bought and became a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc. Wyeth introduced dexfenfluramine in 1996, but fenfluramine had been available for decades.

In the late 1990s, the use of fen-phen was a diet craze. Fen-phen and other fenfluramine derivatives were hailed as a miracle weight-loss remedies. Fen-phen was eventually prescribed to as many as 6 million people, mainly women.

The final report of the International Primary Pulmonary Hypertension Study (“IPPHS”) was not published until August 29, 1996, after the release of both drugs on the market. Although the FDA did approve dexfenfluramine for the market in late 1995, the final data from the IPPHS concluded that all fenfluramine derivatives (fenfluramine (Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (Redux) increase the risk of PPH expediently, from 23- to 46-fold. The FDA approved Pondimin and Redux without considering the final frightening conclusions of the IPPHS.

Meanwhile, the FDA was receiving hundreds of reports that fen-phen users were developing Valvular Heart Disease, mainly damaging the aortic or mitral valves of the heart. This led to the withdrawal of Pondimin (fenfluramine) and Redux (dexfenfluramine) from the market in September 1997.

Seek Legal Assistance When Filing a Fen-Phen Claim

If you or a family member of yours contracted PPH after being prescribed fen-phen, the drug and medical device injury lawyers at Becker Law Office can meet with you to discuss whether you have a valid legal claim. If so, an attorney could help with each step of filing a Fen-Phen drug claim.

The Becker Law Office has been involved in cases throughout the country and has represented clients from many different states in association with other firms. An initial consultation with Becker Law Office about a possible fen-phen legal claim is free and does not include any further obligation on your part.

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