Thousands of Americans seek medical attention every day to improve their quality of life by relieving the pain and suffering from diseases. While different forms of medication such as Viread provide benefits to our health, it is unfortunate that they can cause harm to the consumer. This may occur as a result of the producer's negligence during the manufacture, labeling, and marketing of these drugs. If you are injured by a defective drug or other medical equipment, you can join a mass tort against the manufacturer. At Consumer Alert Now, we will help you take legal action against these manufacturers through mass torts.
What is Viread?
Viread is the brand name of tenofovir disoproxil, which is a highly toxic chemical used to keep HIV and Hepatitis B cells from spreading in the body. However, this drug does not eliminate the disease cells that have already developed in the body. Only a small amount of TDF is absorbed in the body while most part of this drug is left in the system to get excreted. In this case, Viread is taken in high doses to be effective in preventing the spread of HIV cells.
Uses of Viread
Most people take Viread because they believe they are at risk of contracting HIV. This is a result of constant sexual contact with infected people. The drug lowers the risk of developing other HIV related infections. To decrease the chances of the drug’s functions, you should take medicine as prescribed and avoid putting yourself in the risk of reinfection. Skipping doses or changing your medication is likely to increase your viral load and worsen the side effects of Viread.
In the past, TDF was an intravenously admitted drug but was made into oral pills by Gilead upon purchasing the rights to the drug. This was the first HIV drug to get accepted by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. After approval of Viread, Gilead made other HIV drugs that are composed of Viread and other components. These drugs include Truvada, Atripla, and Stribild, among others. All these drugs also triggered lawsuits against Gilead due to the adverse effects of Viread.
Before you start taking tenofovir, the doctor will perform tests on you. This is to make sure you do not have hepatitis B if they are treating you for HIV or have HIV if you are taking Viread to treat hepatitis B. The drug is made to be taken at the same time each day. If the drug is indicated to be taken with food, then you should follow these instructions. Viread can be taken by both adults and children. The dosage of consumption for this drug is based on the weight of the patient.
If you are taking Viread as a prescription drug, you should avoid alcohol to reduce the risk of liver damage. Sometimes taking Viread with other medications may affect the blood levels of this drug, which increases the intensity of the side effects. If you take tenofovir with infection medications, you may harm your kidneys.
Common Side Effects of Viread
Viread is known to cause numerous side effects. However, most individuals who use this drug consider some side effects minor and worth the while. The most severe side effects associated with Viread are
The body relies on the kidneys to get rid of drugs such as Viread in your blood system. Since low amounts of TDF are absorbed, the medication puts much pressure on the kidneys. Prolonged use of these drugs may overwork the kidneys and cause damage. In severe cases, the toxicity of this drug can cause renal failure. Renal failure comes with other complications in the body.
One of the most severe side effects of Viread is kidney failure. When the drug damages your kidneys, the body finds it difficult to get rid of toxins. When the chemicals are eliminated, they keep coming back, and they accumulate due to the impaired excretion function. One of the substances which accumulate in large amounts is lactic acid, causing a condition known as hyperlactatemia. This condition manifests itself in the following ways:
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms are mild and could go unnoticed until hyperlactatemia progresses to lactic acidosis. This occurs when the lactic acid becomes too much that it lowers the blood ph. Excessively acidic blood is fatal since it may cause medical complications such as
- Organ failure
- Cardiac arrhythmia
Medical case studies have shown that lactic acidosis may develop 20 months into the treatment of HIV using Viread. Hyperlactemia and lactic acidosis may develop even when the TDF-based drug does not cause kidney failure. Viread stops the spread of HIV cells in the body but may also affect the mitochondria cells.
Viread causes bone density problems due to the high toxicity of this drug. HIV infections reduce the density of your bones. The bone erosion from Viread consumption worsens the bone density problem. TDF keeps HIV cells in check; thus, it is a lifelong treatment method. Viread kills the bone tissues in a rate that the body is not able to replace. This can cause bone density problems that progress to osteoporosis, osteopenia, and bone fractures. Most people who have HIV are likely to suffer broken bones.
Other minor side effects of long term intake of Viread are:
- Muscle pain
- Stomach discomfort
- breathing problems
- Fatigue and
- Skin rashes
Compromised Immune Function
Tenofovir affects your immune system, which may manifest in the following ways after a long period of intake:
- Sore throat - This causes you difficulty in swallowing, general body weakness, and body balance problems.
- Enlarged thyroid glands which produce a swelling on the neck - Also, these infections can cause impotence, night sweats, cold sores as well as dramatic weight loss is common among people who use Viread to reduce the spreading of HIV cells.
- Liver problems - manifested by swelling on your upper stomach loss of appetite and jaundice.
Lawsuits Against Viread and its Manufacturers
Many product defects and personal injury lawsuits have been brought against the manufacturers of Viread. Also, a class-action suit was filed by victims of California over the adverse effects caused by this drug. The lawsuits claimed that
Gilead Failed to Inform Drug Users and Medical Practitioners of TDF's Side Effects
The primary claim in the suit against Gilead for this drug is that he failed to warm the drug users as well as doctors of the dangers associated with TDF. Drug manufacturers should let consumers know the harmful effects of their drugs. This is because doctors will rely on the instructions of the package to prescribe the medication to the patients. Patients will also consider the advantages and disadvantages of the drugs before deciding to consume the drug.
Sometimes, the pharmaceutical companies avoid disclosing these facts since the concerns may prevent consumers from choosing to use the drug. The suit against Gilead claimed that the manufacturers knew the danger which TDF would pose to its consumers. This was proven by the fact that Gilead was researching for a safer drug TAF. Despite knowing of the toxicity of this drug, Gilead advertised the drug and labeled it risk-free, which misleads the doctors and patients.
After research showed that TDF HIV drugs caused reduced bone density and kidney problems, Gilead continued to defend the fact that the drug is toxic. Also, they paid doctors to test TAF on patients as a result of risks brought about by Viread. As per the lawsuits against Gilead, he did not warn TDF users about the dangers. The warning label on this drug recommends HIV patients with a high risk of one damage to get mineral assessments.
Gilead Withheld a Safer HIV Drug
This lawsuit was to claim that Gilead put the lives of many patients at risk by still offering TDF while they had a safer drug. They suppressed the development of TAF and failed to release it for patients to use. TAF has a higher absorption rate, and thus a smaller dose is needed making it safe for your kidneys. For this reason, the claim dictated that the patients who suffered side effects of TDF were entitled to compensation for the other years they were at risk. Gilead put the consumers of the TDF HIV drug at risk until the expiry.
The lawsuit of withholding a safer drug was not as strong as that of failure to warn. This is because there is less possibility of pharmaceutical companies being held responsible for failure to bring a safer drug. One of the following three doctrines can be used to make a pharmaceutical company legally liable.
- There was a substantial defect in the design of the product. Therefore, the drug poses a risk to patients even when used in the right way.
- The manufacturing process introduced a defect that was not present at the design
- The marketing of the drug mislead the patients and put them at risk.
Gilead's Sciences, Inc. had a responsibility to introduce a safer drug to the market. Although the manufacturers claimed that they were not obliged to create a more harmless drug, the suit was based on concealing TAF. Some argued that it was a marketing defect in that they knew of a safer drug but failed to warn patients and doctors of the existing drug. HIV patients who get harmed after consuming TDF, have filed lawsuits against Gilead with the hope of getting compensation for:
- Both past and future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Professional setbacks
- Loss of consortium if a loved one died
Some lawsuits demanded punitive damages due to the company's attempt to withhold TAF, which would have reduced the effects of TDF. The losses were meant to punish Gilead for putting the lives and health of Viread consumers at risk.
A mass tort is part of the personal injury law and can be applied in other types of practice such as product liability and defective products law. Mass torts involve a significant number of claimants who have a common issue but spread out geographically. When the legal issues and the facts of the case are similar, affected individuals can come together and bring a lawsuit against the person responsible for the tort. You can file a mass tort against a manufacturer for defective products or a company accused of a discriminatory pattern that caused injuries for many employees.
This type of lawsuit can also be brought against people responsible for fatalities in an airplane or train accident. A mass tort is a representative action where few plaintiffs will be mentioned in the case on their behalf and for others. When a mass tort lawsuit is successful, the claimants will receive compensation for the damages. If you believe that you belong to the mass tort category as defined by the suit, you will be given time to assert the claim. After that, you receive your share of the compensatory benefits. When you file a mass tort, you will receive higher compensatory benefits.
The law defines claims that could be presented in court as a mass tort. Most mass torts are filed with the hope of recovering monetary damages. However, others are filed seeking a declaratory judgment of relief. This is where the court orders the defendant to stop performing the actions that caused injuries from the claimants. In mass tort cases, you file individual claims. Then they are grouped for trial purposes.
When a large group of complainants wants to sue a tortfeasor in a single lawsuit, the victims have to seek the court's approval to file a mass tort action. The following are factors to be considered when determining whether the claims qualify to be a mass tort.
- Whether or not a large number of complainants involved
- The difference in the location of individual plaintiffs
- The similarity in the types of injuries the victims suffered
- Whether the claims are associated with a common cause
When it has been ascertained that your case is an act of mass tort, the case will be assigned to a judge. The court will often order a notice to get published in the newspaper. This acts as an invitation to other individuals who were harmed by the product to join the mass tort.
Some medications may be harmful for various reasons, as follows:
- Failure of the drug manufacturers to warn consumers of the risks associated with those drugs
- Drug companies failing to carry out studies needed to identify the side effects of their drugs
- Marketing the medication to be used in ways that are not permitted by the Food and Drug Administration
The makers of prescription drugs and medical devices should ensure their products do not cause harm to the consumers. This is by checking their medications for potential harm and letting the consumers know of this risk. Failure to satisfy these conditions may cause harm to a large number of consumers, and they will be liable for the injuries suffered. The lawsuits of dangerous drugs and medical equipment are hard to pursue, and that is why you are grouped to form a mass tort.
Common Types of Mass Tort Claims
There are several types of civil actions that involve a large number of plaintiffs, as follows:
- Pharmaceutical Litigation
Often, patients will use new drugs that the manufacturer label as a breakthrough for a particular condition. When the patient begins to complain of the harmful side effects, it is realized that the pharmaceutical company concealed the truth. Through a mass tort, the company will be held responsible for the loss and damages suffered by the complainants.
- Medical Devices
Sometimes medical devices are released to the public before testing for any defects. This could increase the chances of harm as a result of defective parts. When someone suffers an illness or medical complication from using the faulty device, the manufacturers of the damaged parts can be held liable. Most of these corporations are large and have a strong defense. That is why filing a mass tort will give you a better chance of fighting against these companies.
- Toxic Contamination Torts
Some industries or manufacturing companies release their fumes and chemicals to the environment. These toxic substances are likely to affect the health of people living around these areas. You could be part of a poisonous contamination tort if you were injured from these substances even when the damages from these substances are diverse. If you can show that your injuries resulted from these chemicals, the industry owners will be held responsible for your injuries.
The Process of a Mass Tort Claim
There is a statute of limitations for mass torts. So it is crucial to seek legal assistance as soon as you notice the harmful effects. However, mass torts take a long time to get resolved because they involve many plaintiffs. The steps in a mass tort claim are:
- Record review - The statements from claimants are examined. Also, your medical reports will get checked to identify the injuries caused by a drug or defective product in question.
- Consistency of the damages – To categorize your claims to form a mass tort, you must share specific injury characteristics. The similarity in some aspects of your injuries will be checked to ensure they match those of other complainants claiming harm from the products. Even if the injuries vary, it should show that all resulted from the same product.
- Claim filing in the Federal or state court – Individual cases will be filed to speed up the process of gathering information for the claim.
- Minor trials - A small group of lawsuits will be chosen from similar cases and are tried. The outcome of these trials may predict the result of the mass tort.
- Settlement – You enter negotiations with the defendants and try to settle the claims. You will decide if you accept the agreement or you proceed to trial.
Joining a Mass Tort
When you visit a medical facility and receive prescription medicine, you will most likely believe that the doctor is doing the right thing for you. However, some of these drugs have design defects and may cause you both physical and emotional trauma. This may cause you to lose faith in the medical facility. These facilities or doctors can file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers for poor reputation. Poor publicity and status can also be an element of a mass tort.
If you want to join a mass tort, you can contact a lawyer independent of the case to help you reach the lawyers in the mass tort case. A professional will interview you to make sure the details of your injuries are relevant to the mass tort. Your medical records may be useful to provide a basis for the relationship between your injuries, and the person you claim is liable for them. If your injuries lack a direct connection to the mass tort, you can separately sue the party responsible for your damages.
A mass tort will use experts to investigate the matter and identify the relationship between the injuries and the defective product. Witnesses, as well as evidence from each victim, will have to be gathered before the case. To win a tort in court, the legal team must prove that your injuries resulted from the defective product. Also, the proof of defect or negligence is essential for a successful mass tort.
Get in Touch With a Mass Tort Lawyer Near Me
Viread benefits patients by slowing down the progress of HIV and Hepatitis B. However, a defect, or a misguidance on the use of these drugs can have severe side effects. Viread can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, lactic acidosis, as well as kidney problems. If you suffer injuries from a defective drug, Consumer Alert Now can help you get the justice you deserve. We will connect you with the relevant experts to help you understand the path to take when pursuing the right side of the case. Contact us today at 800-511-0747.