Everything You Need to Know About Elmiron® Lawsuits: Part I

May 26th, 2020 | by RON BELL

Everything You Need to Know About Elmiron® Lawsuits: Part I

Are you concerned about the recent news regarding previously undisclosed, serious side effects of the popular bladder pain medication? Read this blog to understand the full story behind the disconcerting reports.

If the American public and medicinal drugs had an official relationship status, it would likely be “it’s complicated.” On the one hand, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half the population–or almost 1 in every 2 people–uses at least 1 prescription drug in any given month. For 24 percent of the population, the number of different prescription drugs taken within the past 30 days is 3 or more. 

Nearly 80 percent of all opioid drugs produced globally is consumed in the United States. Furthermore, over-the-counter or OTC medications are even more popular with the American public; it is estimated that “81 percent of adults use OTC medicines as a first response to minor ailments.” There’s little wonder, then, that the US pharmaceutical market is valued at nearly $500 billion.

Although it is clear how much Americans depend on their drugs, there seems to be little correlation, if at all, between the ubiquitous consumption of pharmaceuticals and the general level of trust that the public has in the companies manufacturing them. In fact, as reported by Gallup, “the pharmaceutical industry is now the most poorly regarded industry in Americans’ eyes.” Meanwhile, its favorability ratings are at “an all-time low” within a period of 19 years. Additionally, global data shows that the level of public distrust towards pharmaceutical companies in the US is greater only in 5 other countries in the world.

The reasons for such widespread distrust of pharmaceutical companies are complex and reflect larger societal trends. (For example, one survey also found that the US public is distrustful and disapproving of big corporations in general.) However, it is easy to understand why Americans may be particularly ill-willed towards large pharmaceutical companies. Within the past decade, Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Abbott Laboratories, to name a few, have been involved in a series of scandals and lawsuits over their products.

Unfortunately, it already seems that this worrying pattern of irresponsibility on the part of some drug manufacturers will carry over into the current decade. As personal injury attorneys, our team at Ron Bell is committed to keeping you informed on potential health risks related to dangerous drugs. Currently, we are carefully monitoring the unfolding controversy surrounding Elmiron®, a popular bladder pain medication. In this and the following article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of this developing story, including the alleged health damage that may be caused by Elmiron® and the legal remedies for potential victims.

What is Elmiron®?

Elmiron® is the brand name of a drug produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The active ingredient in this drug is a chemical compound called pentosan polysulfate sodium. While this substance is a known anticoagulant–or blood thinner, meaning that it prevents the formation of blood clots–it is widely used to treat pain and discomfort caused by a disorder called interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis is a condition of the bladder; the main symptom is unnatural bladder pressure and persistent pain or discomfort. The pain can be felt in the lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis, or urethra. Interstitial cystitis may also cause increased urination–resulting in the need to go to the bathroom as many as 40 to 60 times a day in severe cases. It is estimated that, in the US alone, between 3 million and 8 million women and between 1 million and 4 million men suffer from the condition.

The exact mechanism that causes interstitial cystitis is unknown. Likewise, scientists are not exactly certain how pentosan polysulfate sodium works when administered to patients suffering from the disorder and why exactly it is effective in decreasing the pain and discomfort. It is clear, though, that the drug does bring relief to patients which–along with the fact that it doesn’t currently have generic alternatives in the country–contributed to its popularity among consumers.

In the second part of this article, we will explore how Elmiron® came under scrutiny after decades of having been considered safe, the size of the risk it poses, and what legal remedies patients who may have suffered adverse health effects due to regular Elmiron® use may have at their disposal.

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