Uloric lawsuits claim Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to warn users of risks associated with the drug. Plaintiffs claim the manufacturer knew its drug carried a risk of cardiovascular death. A 2018 gout study supports the plaintiffs' claim. In the study, Uloric users were more likely to die than those using its competitor, allopurinol. Courts will have to determine the legitimacy of such claims.
Why People Are Filing Uloric Lawsuits
Uloric (febuxostat) lawsuits against Takeda Pharmaceuticals are focused primarily on the increased risk of death associated with the gout medication. Some lawsuits are also being filed by patients who claim they suffered other cardiovascular problems after taking Uloric, including stroke, pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).
The claims of Uloric lawsuits center around the drug manufacturer's responsibility to warn patients about potential side effects caused by its medications. Despite showing potential for increased risk of cardiovascular events in early clinical trials, Takeda did not adequately warn patients about those risks, according to plaintiffs. In November 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the drug company to further study the heart-related risks of febuxostat, but family members of patients who died believe the company should have been more upfront about the problems its prescription medication could cause.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis affecting approximately 3-4% of the United States population. Symptoms can range from almost nonexistent (remission) to extremely painful and debilitating (flares). Gout often affects just one joint at a time, usually the big toe, but it can also present in other toes, ankles and knees. The condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, which is influenced by diet and genetic factors.
Gout is treated by managing pain, adjusting lifestyle and attempting to prevent uric acid crystal formation through drugs like allopurinol and Uloric. Allopurinol has been used to reduce uric acid levels since the 1960's. Many gout medicine lawsuits have been filed claiming patients were not warned of the dangers of Uloric, effectively robbing them of the option to choose allopurinol as the safer, more established alternative.
Uloric and Heart Attacks
Uloric (febuxostat) is a medication used for treating gout, a painful type of arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid, which in turn leads to aching, swelling, redness and other problems. Uloric works by reducing uric acid levels in the blood, thus reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms.
Unfortunately, Uloric also has a potentially deadly side effect, an increased risk of heart-related deaths in patients with cardiovascular disease. According to the results of a clinical trial known as the CARES study, patients who took Uloric had a higher incidence of fatal myocardial infarctions (heart attacks leading to death) than patients who took allopurinol, another gout medicine.
The FDA issued a drug safety communication in November 2017, and results of the CARES study were published in March 2018 in The New England Journal of Medicine. However, the FDA did not require Takeda Pharmaceuticals to add a black box warning about this dangerous side effect until February 2019. At that time, the FDA also limited Uloric prescriptions to patients who are allergic to allopurinol or who have not had their gout treated effectively with that drug. There has not been a Uloric recall in 2019.
Uloric Whistleblower Lawsuit
Before the current Uloric death lawsuits, a whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2010 by a former safety consultant for Takeda, Dr. Helen Ge. In her lawsuit, Dr. Ge alleged that Takeda purposely hid information about some very serious side effects of Uloric. She also claimed that Takeda covered up negative interactions with two drugs that treat gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), Kapidex/Dexilant and Prevacid.
Dr. Ge's whistleblower lawsuit claims that Takeda knew about severe Uloric side effects from pre-approval data--including kidney failure, congestive heart failure and liver failure--but the company failed to warn consumers appropriately by revising the drug label. As a result, patients and the government (through healthcare programs like Medicaid) paid significantly more money for Uloric prescriptions when they could have instead bought the much cheaper generic drug allopurinol, according to the lawsuit.
Takeda was ultimately able to get Dr. Ge's whistleblower claims dismissed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Dr. Ge appealed, but the appeals court upheld the dismissal on technical grounds, and the Supreme Court later refused to hear the case.
Current Uloric Litigation
Because Uloric lawsuits are relatively new, the information gathering process is ongoing. As more details become available, we will provide them here. As of September 2019, no Uloric class action lawsuits have been filed.
Karidis v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals
In October 2019, Peter G. Karidis filed a lawsuit claiming Uloric caused his heart attack. According to the complaint, Mr. Karidis' physicians would not have prescribed the drug had they been informed of its true risks. The lawsuit blames Takeda, as the drug manufacturer, for Mr. Karidis' heart attack. The court has not yet set a trial date for this case.
Have you or a loved one suffered any of the following while taking Uloric?
- Heart attack
- Other cardiovascular side effects
If so, reach out today to get a free case evaluation.
Uloric Settlements and Verdicts
No settlements or verdicts in Uloric cases have been finalized at this time.
Uloric Lawsuit FAQs
Am I Eligible to File a Uloric Lawsuit?
Our Uloric lawsuit attorneys may be able to help patients (or their surviving family members) who took Uloric to file a lawsuit against the company if they suffered from a cardiovascular event after taking the gout drug. This includes:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Angina (chest pain)
To find out if your case is viable, sign up for a free consultation today. Our Uloric lawyers can help you determine if a lawsuit is right for you.
What Compensation Is Available for Uloric Lawsuits?
Each individual case is going to differ in the allowable compensation. In general, we help plaintiffs seek damages for the following:
- Medical costs related to the treatment of severe side effects
- Lost income due to a disability or untimely death
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Funeral expenses for wrongful death
During your free review, our Uloric lawsuit lawyers will go over any other compensation you may be eligible to receive based on the facts of your case.
How Much Does a Uloric Lawyer Cost?
Uloric lawsuits are typically done on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless you receive money as part of your legal claim. During your free consultation, be sure to ask any questions you have about fees and other costs related to your lawsuit.