Quoted from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-01/johnson-johnson-hid-risks-of-antibiotic-levaquin-lawyer-says-at-trial.html
Johnson & Johnson Hid Antibiotic Levaquin Risk, Lawyer Says
By Margaret Cronin Fisk and Beth Hawkins - Jun 1, 2011 2:21 PM ET
A Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit knew its antibiotic Levaquin increased the risk of tendon damage in the elderly and failed to properly warn patients or doctors, a lawyer said today at the start of a trial in Minnesota.
Calvin Christensen, 84, who said he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right foot after taking the drug while hospitalized with pneumonia, sued the company and its Ortho- McNeil Pharmaceutical unit in 2007. The companies downplayed the risks of Levaquin to boost the drug’s sales, Christensen’s lawyer, Saul Lewis, said in his opening statement.
“Johnson & Johnson hid the risk from doctors and the public,” Saul told the Minneapolis jury today. “They sold $15 billion worth of Levaquin in the U.S.”
Christensen’s case is the second of more than 2,500 pending claims in U.S. courts to go to trial over allegations that Levaquin caused tendon damage in patients and that the company failed to adequately disclose the risk. J&J and Ortho-McNeil lost the first trial when a separate Minneapolis jury awarded $1.8 million to an 84-year-old man who ruptured both Achilles tendons.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2008 required an upgraded warning on tendon damage posed by Levaquin and similar drugs. Christensen claims the warning should have been enhanced earlier and that Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil, now Ortho- McNeil-Janssen, targeted the elderly for drug sales.