Lawsuits: Rimadyl, ProHeart, Deramaxx
at FDA's Center For Veterinary Medicine (CVM) include filings against Rimadyl, Proheart, Deramaxx, heartworm medications, etc. Deramaxx has helped relieve many canine aches and pains but in an echo of the national debate over the dangerous side effects of some popular human drugs, Deramaxx has also proved at times to be deadly.
In Sept. 2010, a Washington Post Staff Writer said this about the newest veterinary
medicine prescription, Deramaxx. “An anti-inflammatory closely related to the human painkiller Vioxx, which was taken off the
market in 2004 and is now the subject of thousands of lawsuits against Merck & Co."
The FDA has all it can do to watch out for humans and sometimes,
it fails miserably as in the case of VIoxx, the medicine that harmed so many people. Kaufman continues “Deramaxx is not the only drug to run into trouble in the burgeoning world of animal medicine. The widely used ProHeart 6 heartworm treatment was the subject of controversy several years ago and was withdrawn from the market in 2004
following reports that healthy dogs were becoming sick and dying after getting a shot of the preventive medicine.”
Another example is the huge lawsuit filed in 1999 by over 300 pet owners
against Pfizer Inc. That one involved a pain and arthritis medicine called Rimadyl. The highly touted drug marketed through veterinarians seriously harmed pets. After dragging it out as long as
possible, Pfizer settled in 2003, saying it had done nothing wrong but wanted to avoid costly litigation. Each plaintiff received $1,000 which was a paltry sum that in many cases, did not cover legal expenses, much less compensate them for the loss of their pet or veterinary bills they incurred in treating the dog.
In another case, the ProHeart 6 case led to allegations that its
manufacturer, Wyeth, had sought to discredit the FDA official overseeing the investigation. We covered the story
of Dr. Hampshire, the FDA official who concluded that ProHeart 6, a heartworm drug was not safe and contributed to well over reported 500 canine deaths. This is much the same thing we saw with
dangerous drugs being given to people, but maybe even more unfair because pet owners had no idea these pills could be so harmful.
The Washington Post story gives fair treatment to the drug companies,
quoting from statements and interviews but the bottom line is contained in this quote “FDA’s Hampshire, who worked on the Deramaxx and ProHeart 6 cases before losing her position last year, said,
'Whatever problems we face with drugs in the human world are magnified in the animal world. There’s no pharmacist involved, and so there’s no
monitoring of prescriptions. And, of course, the patient can’t talk and tell you he doesn’t feel right.'”
Many veterinarians resist efforts to force them to
share drug information sheets with pet owners (see Prescription Inserts) which are sometimes provided by the companies and endorsed by the FDA. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin,
interim director of the scientific activities division of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said vets are trained to
discuss possible drug side effects with pet owners, and her organization thinks most do so. She said "the association opposes efforts to require vets to give out the drug makers’ information because “it’s just
not the be-all and end-all of the communication that’s needed.”
and Related Information:
 Sept 2010 USA Today
ProHeart 6 Pfizer settled
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