On November 19, 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration recalled the pain medications Darvon and Darvocet from the market after a new study showed an increased risk of heart rhythm abnormalities in patients taking these drugs. The FDA also recalled all generic versions of the drug which contain the active ingredient propoxyphene.
These medications, which have been on the market for years, have been surrounded by safety concerns for a long time. In addition to the more recent concerns of heart rhythm abnormalities, there have also been safety questions regarding suicidal risks and issues of overdosing as well. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, petitioned the FDA for the removal of these drugs as far back as 1978 and as recently as 2006. Once again, foreign agencies were well ahead of the United States, with propoxyphene being pulled from the British market in 2005 and by the European Union in 2009.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation conducted a hearing in San Diego, Calif., late last month to determine if litigation involving these medications will be consolidated before one federal judge for pretrial proceedings as part of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Several federal judges around the country have been proposed to oversee the propoxyphene MDL. The manufacturers of propoxyphene products have filed opposition to the consolidation. Lawyers from across the country will be monitoring these MDL proceedings since the outcome will help determine how this litigation will proceed. Our firm is currently investigating claims on behalf of clients who ingested Darvon or Darvocet and suffered a serious heart rhythm abnormality. For additional information you can contact Chad Cook, a lawyer in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chad.Cook@beasleyallen.com.