ATLANTA, April 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Andy Childers and Neil Edwards (of Childers, Schlueter & Smith), together with Paul Phillips (of Flynn Peeler Phillips), completed a jury trial against the pharmaceutical manufacturer Akorn, Inc., which resulted in a total award on behalf of their clients in the amount of $20.5 million.
The Houston County, Georgia jury returned a compensatory verdict of more than $3 million on Tuesday. The jury went on to impose an additional $17.5 million in punitive damages against Akorn due to its egregious conduct yesterday.
Akorn, Inc.'s Methylene Blue was used as a visualizing agent during Ann Pope's parathyroid surgery in September 2013. At that time, Ms. Pope was also taking a common medication that Akorn knew may interact dangerously with Methylene Blue.
Two years prior to Ms. Pope's surgery, the FDA issued two safety announcements about the dangerous interaction, one in July of 2011 and another in October of 2011. Akorn admitted receiving the FDA alerts. Despite having actual knowledge of the dangerous interaction, Akorn chose not to modify its package insert to inform healthcare providers of the dangers of administering Methylene Blue to a patient taking certain common medications.
Ms. Pope developed Serotonin Syndrome as a result of the drug interaction caused by Methylene Blue, which required her to be hospitalized for several weeks, and to be kept in a medically induced coma. As a result of her life-threatening injuries, Ms. Pope now suffers permanent cognitive impairment.
"This is a clear example of a corporation placing profits over patient safety," said attorney Andy Childers of the Atlanta-based law firm Childers, Schlueter, Smith.
"Akorn knowingly supplied Ms. Pope's medical providers with materially false and incomplete information regarding the safety of their product," said Paul Phillips.
Methylene Blue is not safe for use in patients taking certain other common medications, and Akorn's labeling, marketing, and promotional materials did not inform Ms. Pope's healthcare providers about the interaction. The evidence at trial was clear that Ms. Pope would not have been administered Methylene Blue if the Akorn label had properly warned about the interaction.
"We believe the punitive damages award speaks volumes on behalf of the 12 jurors who recognized that this pharmaceutical company did not timely or adequately disclose the potential risk of injury, and Ms. Pope suffered a life-changing, near-death experience. I'd like to thank the Popes for their bravery to allow this case to be heard and hopefully to send a message for what are clearly desperately needed reforms to protect the people," said Neil Edwards.
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