A California man and his wife recently filed a lawsuit against the drug maker Genentech, a compounding pharmacy, and the doctors responsible for injecting contaminated medicine into his eye that caused him to become blind.
The lawsuit makes several different sorts of arguments regarding culpability of the various defendants for the resulting injury and damage suffered by the plaintiff.
The complaint states that he became blind in one eye when an eye doctor injected Genentech’s drug Avastin, which was contaminated with streptococcus, in order to treat his macular degeneration. The drug is primarily intended for use in the treatment of cancer, but it can be used to treat eye conditions, in so-called off label use.
According to the complaint, in order to use the drug for treatment of ocular conditions, such as that suffered by the plaintiff, the drug must be re-formulated and compounded by a pharmacist, under sterile conditions, in order to prepare a lower dose for injection from a single dose. This is because the drug is ordinarily packaged in bulk amounts for intravenous use in treatment of cancer patients.
The lawsuit claims that Genentech is liable for the plaintiff’s injury, because it was aware of the increased risk of contamination with the bulk packaging, but continued to sell it in the same manner anyway due to the larger profit it received that way. The plaintiffs also accuse Genentech of failure to warn the medical community and general public regarding the risks of contamination and bacterial infection associated with reformulating the bulk packaged drug.
Following an investigation into the matter by the FDA, the agency reportedly confirmed that both Genentech and the reformulating pharmacy were aware of prior similar incidents involving bacterial infection resulting from compounding.
The FDA also reportedly learned that the doctor who injected the drug had done so even though the particular dose was approximately two weeks past its use by date. The claim against the doctor who injected the drug stems from that revelation.
The claim against the compounding pharmacy accuses it of failing to ensure sterile conditions, prevent contamination, and further failure to test for contamination prior to distribution.
The plaintiff states that the blindness in his eye has resulted in, “disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, [and] loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.” The lawsuit seeks punitive damages for product liability, breach of warranty, medical malpractice and loss of consortium.
This blog has covered the issues related to contamination in compounding pharmacies on several prior occasions. The injuries, and even deaths, associated with contaminated products are serious, and legislatures are starting to regulate in order to protect the public from future harms.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of a pharmacy error, contact the experienced Maryland prescription error attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Whether you or a loved one were harmed by medication that was improperly prescribed, dispensed, or administered, or you suffered as a result of medication side effects, contact us today by calling us at (800) 654-1949 or through our website, in order to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Court Sides with Plaintiff in Expert Testimony Prescription Medication Injury Case, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 5, 2013
District Court Denies Pharmacy’s Motion in Fertility Medication Error Case, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 27, 2013