Pfizer sued for Bextra in St. Clair County

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 13, 2006, 8:26am

The estate of a man who died of a heart attack filed a wrongful death suit against Pfizer claiming the prescription medication that was recalled caused the heart attack that killed him.

Arlene Keller-Wilson claims her husband, Ronald, at age 60, was prescribed Bextra for pain relief on Oct. 11, 2002. Two months later he had a heart attack.

She filed the suit March 6, in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Bextra is a Cox-2 inhibitor and was approved by the FDA on Nov. 16, 2001, for the relief of symptoms of osteoarthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis.

On April 7, 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that Pfizer suspend sales of Bextra in the U.S.

Keller-Wilson claims she did not know of the potential connection between Robert's Bextra use and his death until the FDA required Pfizer to suspend Bextra sales.

She claims Bextra was defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous to human health and lacked proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.

According to the complaint, at the time Bextra was sold to Robert it was defective in design and unreasonably dangerous, subjecting users to risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses which exceeded the benefits of the product when safer products like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Mobic where available.

Keller-Wilson claims that Pfizer failed to perform adequate testing and study of Bextra prior to marketing it or ignored existing data which would have allegedly shown the drug to possess serious life threatening side effects.

She also claims that the drug did not come with proper warnings regarding adverse side effects associated with its use and the comparative severity and duration of the side effects.

"Had Pfizer properly disclosed the risks associated with using Bextra, Robert would not have taken it for the treatment of pain associated with injury," the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Pfizer actually knew of the defective nature of its product, yet continued to design, manufacture, market, distribute and sell it to maximize sales and profits at the expense of the general public's health and safety.

Keller-Wilson claims Pfizer breached its duty of reasonable care by failing to conduct sufficient testing which, if properly performed, would have shown Bextra has serious side effects including heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, blood clots, Steven Johnson Syndrome and other serious side effects.

She also claims Pfizer violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act which deceived Robert and caused him to suffer personal physical injury and actual damages.

Keller-Wilson claims that in addition to the heart attack, her husband spent money for the purchase of a medicine that was allegedly unreasonably dangerous.

Represented by John Driscoll of Brown & Crouppen of St. Louis, Keller-Wilson is seeking damages in excess of $200,000 plus all costs of the suit.

06 L 135 (20th Circuit)

More News