Law Offices of David G. Arganian, Seattle, WA

Cleared of Liability despite Levaquin Side Effects

The news source reported that a jury found the drugmaker's Levaquin antibiotic was not the sole cause of the injuries, and declared that Johnson & Johnson wouldn't be held legally responsible.

According to the news outlet, the jury deliberated for eight hours over the course of two days before clearing J&J's Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutical unit of liability for Paul Gaffney's and Robert Beare's injuries. The two individuals contend their Achilles tendon snapped following a period of treatment with Levaquin to help with respiratory infections.

Though the company won this case and a previous court battle over the side effects of Levaquin, they were found to be liable for damages that were incurred by another individual. He won a total of $1.8 million from the drugmaker following a trial in Michigan during the winter of 2010, due to what happened to his Achilles tendon, Bloomberg reported.

"The evidence showed Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals properly informed of the benefits and risks associated with the use of Levaquin and that the company acted responsibly by providing appropriate and timely information about [the drug]," a spokesman for J&J told the news source following the acquittal verdict.

Levaquin generated significant profits, more than $1 billion in sales, over an eight-year period for the drugmaker. The potential side effects were identified in 2008 by the US Food and Drug Administration, leading the organization to require all makers of antibiotics in the medication's class to add warnings that detailed the potential for individuals to rupture a tendon, according to Bloomberg.

The New York Times reported that J&J is now facing more than 2,000 lawsuits from plaintiffs who are claiming that their use of the medication led to tendonitis in the ankle and injuries as severe as ruptures.

Though the jury agreed that the medication had something to do with the individuals developing tendon pain and the potential for a tear, the group ruled that the company had provided sufficient warnings against this injury occurring, according to the newspaper.

"It was a very difficult case for the jury," the lawyer for Gaffney and Beare told the Times. The two individuals are planning to appeal the verdict.

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