Glen Carbon woman asking for $75 million from Ortho Evra producers

By Steve Gonzalez | Jan 31, 2006

Jennifer McNichols of Glen Carbon is suing the maker of a skin patch contraceptive for $75 million claiming it caused blood clots.

Ortho Evra and its makers Ortho McNeil and Johnson & Johnson, already targets of at least seven lawsuits in district court in East St. Louis, were sued in Madison County Circuit Court on Jan. 23.

According to the complaint, McNichols had to undergo anti-coagulant therapy and vascular surgery because of blood clots in her right calf and thigh.

In March 2004, she went to the emergency room at Anderson Hospital in Maryville with pain, swelling, hot skin and numbness in her right foot and calf.

At the time, her right foot and calf also were about two inches larger than her left which prompted the hospital to perform a Doppler venogram which showed she had a deep venous thrombosis in the right calf and thigh in the femoral and superficial femoral veins.

McNichols claims she was admitted to the hospital and placed on Coumadin and Heparin therapy and was then released with instructions to continue the Coumadin therapy.

She also claims medical complications from the blood clots including being placed on Lovenox, a medication that helps prevent blood clots.

According to the complaint, she remained on Lovenox therapy until October of 2005, when she then required surgery as a result of her anticoagulation therapies.

"The foreseeable risks associated with the design or formulation of Ortho Evra include, but are not limited to, the fact that the design or formulation of Ortho Evra is more dangerous that a reasonably prudent consumer would expect when used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner," the complaint states.

McNichols is seeking compensatory damages against all the defendants in excess of $50,000 and is seeking punitive damages in the amount of $74.5 million plus attorney fees and court costs.

She is represented by Roger Denton of St. Louis.

Unlike recent lawsuits filed in federal court, McNichols also names a pharmacy, Walgreens, alleging that it breached warranties that the patch was free from defects and caused no other side effects than those listed in the package insert.

She also claims the pharmacist at the Glen Carbon Walgreens expressly represented to her was as safe as a birth control pill.

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