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U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber has upheld Virginia Cavender’s claims of design-defect, breach-of-warranty, and negligence against pharmaceutical company Wyeth. Cavender, who took the weight loss combination drug fen-phen, claims that it caused heart damage in the form of “moderately severe aortic regurgitation.”

Judge Webber denied Wyeth’s motion for partial summary judgment, ruling that the company had not provided sufficient evidence to show that Cavender lacked any chance of success on her claims. The plaintiff alleges that she took the diet drug for a two-month period in 1996. The drug was removed from the market in late 1997 amid fears of heart valve injury.

According to Judge Webber, Cavender may submit her negligent-failure-to-test claim to the jury “because the court has concluded that there is a genuine issue of material fact that the drug at issue was defectively designed.” However, he went on to inform the plaintiff that she must now show “what tests should have been performed and how any such testing would have prevented her injuries.”

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to our section detailing Drugs, Medical Devices, & Implants.

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