The first trial in the country involving Bayer’s cholesterol lowering medication, Baycol, began on February 18th in Corpus Christi, Texas. The plaintiff was given samples of Baycol in May 2001 and within weeks was hospitalized with rhaddomyolysis. Rhaddomyolysis is a very serious condition characterized by the breakdown of muscle tissue in the body, which can cause renal failure and death. After many reports of this condition and over 100 deaths, Bayer had to pull the drug off the market. Baycol is no longer sold anywhere in the world.
The plaintiff is represented by lead counsel, Mikal Watts and Chris Pinedo of the Watts Law Firm in Corpus Christi, Texas. Andy Birchfield, a partner here at Beasley, Allen is part of the team of attorneys assisting in the case against Bayer. Other members of the plaintiff’s trial team are Ricky Brantley from Dallas, Matt Lundy from Houston, Eric Weinberg and Mike Lynch from New Jersey, Dawn Barrios of New Orleans and Justin Witkin from Pensacola.
The trial could potentially effect thousands of pending cases and many more unfiled claims in the United States. The plaintiff contends Bayer hid and/or ignored safety data about Baycol to keep it on the market. Bayer documents reveal the company was desperate for Baycol to become a blockbuster drug that could generate millions of dollars of income for their pharmaceutical division. Several major news organizations, including the New York Times and USA Today are covering the progress of the trial. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.