Bayer hid Cipro permanent nerve damage risk from doctors and patients, Pennsylvania lawsuit alleges

by Michael Heygood

A lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania accuses drugmaker Bayer of promoting its antibiotic Cipro for the treatment of bronchitis and other non-life-threatening infections despite the fact that the drug had been linked to an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy. Rita Harbison filed her lawsuit against Bayer after she was prescribed Cipro in 2002 and later diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.

Cipro was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987. The drug earned more than $1 billion in U.S. sales in 1999 and by 2002 was the best-selling antibiotic in the world. Cipro is part of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, or FQ antibiotics. Other popular FQ antibiotic medications include Levaquin, Noroxin, Floxin, Factive, and Avelox, which is also marketed by Bayer.

In 2002, the FDA issued a warning to Bayer and other manufacturers of FQ antibiotics that it had received numerous reports linking these drugs to an increased risk of peripheral neuropathy, serious and potentially permanent nerve damage effecting the arms or legs. In her lawsuit, Harbison says that the warning label that Bayer added to Cipro characterized the risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with the drug as rare, despite clear evidence establishing a link between Cipro and nerve damage.

Harbison’s attorney accused Bayer of deliberately burying information about the link between Cipro and peripheral neuropathy at the bottom of the drug’s warning label among numerous other potential side effects, making it difficult for doctors or patients to understand the dangers of the drug. Subsequent actions by the FDA have backed up these allegations. In 2013, the agency ordered Bayer and other manufacturers of FQ antibiotic drugs to publish updated warning labels to alert doctors and patients of the risk of peripheral neuropathy caused by Cipro and other FQs.

Drug companies that manufactured and sold FQ antibiotics are facing numerous lawsuits by patients who developed nerve damage after taking these drugs. Bayer and Merck are facing several lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania federal court by patients who developed peripheral neuropathy after taking Avelox, which had been marketed as a successor to Cipro after the later drug was made available in generic form. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are also facing federal lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania by patients who were diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after taking Levaquin.

Diagnosed With Nerve Damage After Taking Cipro or Other FQ Antibiotics?

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after being prescribed Cipro, Avelox, Levaquin, or other FQ antibiotics, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. Patients who have experienced symptoms of nerve damage in the hands, arms, legs, or feet that could be signs of peripheral neuropathy—including pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness—may also qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in finding out whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit is to speak with an attorney with experience at handling pharmaceutical litigation cases.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed numerous product liability lawsuits on behalf of patients who were injured by defective drugs or other medical products. Our firm has represented hundreds of individuals who have been harmed by dangerous prescription drugs, including the fentanyl pain patch, Yaz birth control, Actos, Avandia, and Accutane. In doing so, our attorneys have achieved verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million—including settlements of more than $50 in 2010 alone.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have based their careers around the idea that the manufacturers of defective drugs and dangerous medical devices should be held responsible for their actions. Our firm believes that when the actions of drug companies and medical devices manufacturers compromise the health and safety of their patients, they should be held accountable in a court of law. Far too often, the pharmaceutical industry puts its own profits ahead of the interests of patients, disregarding the safety of individuals who may use their products because of the enormous sales these drugs and medical devices may generate.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy after taking FQ antibiotics such as Levaquin, Cipro, or Avelox, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal options. For a free legal consultation from our attorneys, please call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your case to get started.

by Michael Heygood

Michael Heygood is a licensed attorney and partner at HO&P who focuses on insurance and corporate litigation, and other civil arenas. Michael has been named multiple times to the Super Lawyers List.