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Actemra Arthritis Medication Tied to Death

Actemra’s Fatal Risk – What They Knew, When They Knew It

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects over 1.3 million Americans causing them terrible pain and stiffness in their joints. RA is also associated with chronic fatigue, depression and respiratory issues. While Actemra has been given to RA patients as a miracle drug after other medications have failed, researchers are now reporting that long term use could be fatal.

What They Knew

Actemra hit the market in 2010 and many in the medical field were excited because it seemed to address RA problems when other medications didn’t work. Additionally, it supposedly didn’t have the same issues relating to heart attacks, heart failure, or lung problems linked to other RA medications on the market. However, after investigating 500,000 side-effect reports on RA drugs, a STAT News investigation found that these risks are just as high or even higher with Actemra when compared to other RA drugs. After reviewing more than 500,000 side effect reports for RA drugs, STAT News “found clear evidence” that the risks of severe adverse effects, such as heart attack or stroke, “were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs.” And yet there is no warning on Actemra but there are warnings on other comparable RA medications.

When They Knew It

Over 1,100 deaths have been associated with Actemra since it was put on the market in January 2010, and yet there is still  no warning on the label to inform doctors, pharmacists or patients of the fatal risks that this drug presents. Worse yet, since this medication doesn’t list the same warnings, it’s misleading patients to believe that it could be safer than other RA medications while in fact, it still poses the same or greater risks. This deceit allowed Roche-Genentech, the makers of Actemra, to garner $1.7 billion in global sales last year alone.

What Can You Do?

If you had a loved one who took Actemra and passed away due to complications, you could be able to receive compensation for your loss. You may be struggling to pay for medical bills and funeral costs and you’ve undoubtedly endured immeasurable suffering. Roche-Genentech continues to deliberately misrepresent the safety of Actemra at the lives of countless RA patients. Contact us today to see if we are able to help you file a claim.

Actemra Warnings In The News

7/13/17: A Drug Causes Hundreds of Deaths and Millions of Ades

FDA approvals do not necessarily mean that a drug will not later receive additional warnings. Actemra (tocilizumab), a medication for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has recently been investigated for unlabeled side-effects that have allegedly lead to hundreds of deaths. But when warnings have not been issued yet, how can a pharmacist help?

A recent investigation by STAT found reports of over hundreds of deaths caused by unlabeled side-effects on the RA medication Actemra (tocilizumab).

Read Full Article

6/7/17: Hundreds of Patient Deaths Linked to Roche’s RA Drug Actemra

Roche (RHHBY)’s seven-year-old rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra is being linked to hundreds of deaths due to undisclosed side effects. Actemra is a humanized interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist approved for treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. It was approved in 2010 and has been prescribed to more than 760,000 patients.

A Stat News investigation found that hundreds of patients taking the RA drug died from cardiovascular and pulmonary complications – issues the drug was not usually associated with. According to the investigation, Actemra did not carry warning labels about the possible side effects, unlike many competing RA drugs. Stat said it investigated more than 500,000 side effect reports for RA drugs and “found clear evidence” that the risks of the side effects, such as heart attack or stroke, “were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs.” The difference Stat stressed is that Actemra, unlike the other RA drugs, does not carry a warning label for those side effects.

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5/22/17: FDA Approves Tocilizumab (Actemra) for Giant Cell Arteritis

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the approved use of subcutaneous tocilizumab (Actemra, Hoffman LaRoche) to include treatment of adults with giant cell arteritis. This will be the first FDA-approved therapy specific to the disorder.

Tocilizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets the interleukin-6 receptor. The FDA granted a Breakthrough Therapy designation and a Priority Review for tocilizumab for this indication.”We expedited the development and review of this application because this drug fulfills a critical need for patients with this serious disease who had limited treatment options,” Badrul Chowdhury, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an FDA news release.

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LATEST ARTICLES

FDA Approves 1000X Stronger Opioid in the Midst of Addiction Crisis

We’ve all heard about the Opioid Crisis and maybe you’ve even had your doctor reduce or halt your prescription of Vicodin, Percocet, or Tylenol with Codeine (to name a few) in recent years.

Ironically, as prescriptions are decreasing concerning this highly addictive medication, the FDA has just approved Dsuvia, an opioid that is five to 10 times stronger than fentanyl and 500 to 1000 times more powerful than morphine.

Doesn’t this seem counterproductive to solving this drug epidemic that plagues the U.S.?

FDA Approves 1000 X’s Stronger Opioid in the Midst of Addiction Crisis

What is Dsuvia?

Dsuvia is made by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is intended for “the management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate,” explains Dr. Pamela Palmer, anesthesiologist and chief medical officer at AcelRx.

This new drug comes in pill form and is intended to dissolve under the tongue. Additionally, since it is such a potent medication, it’s only supposed to be distributed and monitored in medical settings to prevent drug abuse.

Other regulations include that a patient may only be on Dsuvia for 72 hours and the prescription will be required to have the same black-box warnings as all opioids concerning the risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose (but who reads a label when you’re admitted in a hospital?).

The Problem with Dsuvia

Opioid abuse has been rampant in the U.S. and offering a new opioid that is significantly stronger may only add fuel to the fire.

“It doesn’t seem reasonable to place another potent opioid on the market at this time, especially when we’re currently still writing 200 million prescriptions for opioids a year,” stated Dr. Raeford Brown, chair of the FDA advisory committee on analgesics and anesthetic drug products. “The need to put a drug like this on the market is not demonstrated.

The ability to manage that drug once it gets past the FDA is not demonstrated…. We know from looking at other potent opioids that have been put on the market in the last four years that once these drugs get past the FDA, there’s very little, if any, control over them, no matter what the sponsor says prior to the time they come on the market.”

More than 115 people die each day in the U.S. from an opioid overdose and opioid misuse costs our country approximately $78.5 billion a year. It seems obvious that offering a stronger drug will only create larger problems, especially when the FDA lacks the funding and manpower to perform post-market monitoring.

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Sources
“Amid deepening addiction crisis, FDA approves powerful new opioid”. CNN. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/02/health/new-opioid-dsuvia-fda-approval-bn/index.html
“What is Dsuvia? What you should know about the new opioid drug that’s 10 times stronger than fentanyl”. ABC News. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/dsuvia-opioid-painkiller/story?id=58875487
“FDA ADVISORY COMMITTEE BRIEFING DOCUMENT”. FDA. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/AnestheticAndAnalgesicDrugProductsAdvisoryCommittee/UCM622858.pdf
“Opioid Overdose Crisis”. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed November 5, 2018. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

California’s Deadly Camp Fire: How To Receive Financial Support

Once again fires have ravaged California’s forests and have left a multitude of residents displaced. Acres have been destroyed, there is just a charred footprint where thousands of homes once existed, and residents are shocked and wondering how will they ever pick up the pieces to their now broken lives. And for the fourth time in 12 months, faulty electrical equipment has been linked to the devastation.

California’s Deadly Camp Fire: How To Receive Financial Support

While all of the fires in the past year have touched our hearts, “Camp Fire” has hit one of our own team members here at Periscope Group. Laura, the manager of our Call Center, has been busily gathering clothes, toiletries, and other essentials for her parents who lost their home in Paradise, CA. This is their story.

Chris and Jenny’s Story

Chris and Jenny bought their retirement dream home in July 2018 off of Pentz Road in Paradise, CA. Just months later, on November 8, Chris walked outside and quickly noticed that the fire was so close that he could see the smoke swirling at the base of the flames. Just ten minutes later, Chris and Jenny tossed two backpacks containing three days’ worth of clothes, the contents of their safe, their two dogs, and a two-drawer metal filing cabinet into their cars. Chris advised Jenny to “make sure your bumper is touching my bumper the whole way down.” Amidst ash, flames, and wind, they desperately hurried to escape the quickly moving firestorm. Jenny would later describe it as moving through a “Biblical hell.”

They escaped to Chico to find refuge with a relative only to be relocated later that night since the fire was quickly spreading. They moved on to stay with Chris’ aunt who lives in Live Oak.

On the Sunday after their escape, a next door neighbor who was a city official went on an escorted expedition to find out what remained of her home. To her shock and heartbreak, her home had been leveled by the fire along with all of the neighboring homes… including Chris and Jenny’s.

Chris and Jenny have decided not to rebuild. Paradise is unique as compared to some of the other California fire locations in that it’s more of a “mom and pop” type town. There are no big businesses that will start over and many people don’t have the resources to pick up where the fire left off.

Other than the few items that they piled in the car, Chris and Jenny are now left with nothing. Photographs, childhood memories, and their dreams of retiring in Paradise have been reduced to ash. The emotional devastation has been as painful as the physical one.

How Could This Happen… Again?

While Chris and Jenny’s story is upsetting, they are in no way alone in this struggle to rebuild. Three fires last year – Butte, Tubbs, and Thomas – caused hundreds of thousands of acres to be wiped out, cost hundreds of millions of dollars, destroyed over 8,000 structures (most were private homes), and 25 people died. The current Camp Fire exceeds even these tragic numbers. As of November 13, 6,522 residential structures and 260 commercial buildings have been destroyed, 120,000 acres have been burned, and 42 people have lost their lives making this the largest and deadliest fire in California history.

What else do these fires have in common? All of them have been linked to malfunctioning equipment owned by PG&E or Southern California Edison (SCE). In this recent Camp Fire, an Electric Safety Incident Report stated that, “On November 8, 2018, at approximately 0615 hours, PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line in Butte County. In the afternoon of November 8, PG&E observed by aerial patrol damage to a transmission tower on the Caribou-Palermo 115 kV Transmission line, approximately one mile north-east of the town of Pulga, in the area of the Camp Fire.”   

What Can You Do About It?

We know that if you’re in this situation, you’re probably feeling heartbroken, devastated, lost, confused, and so much more and we want to help. Our legal team has assisted countless people who have lost everything due to mass fires and they can sort through insurance forms and other crucial paperwork to get the funding owed to you. Call (800) 511-3838 or contact us to speak with our Call Center today (and you can even request to speak to Laura!). We want to help you in any way we can.

 


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Image Source: KQED News

 

Is Your Doctor on Probation? Most Patients Don’t Know

Most patients either call their doctor’s office or visit a website to make an appointment. We think about what health complaints we want to share, write down any questions we may have, and just hope that we don’t have to sit in the waiting room too long.

Is Your Doctor on Probation? Most Patients Don’t Know

However, have you ever consider if your doctor ever had to undergo disciplinary action for sexual misconduct or for improperly prescribing a drug? After all, if they committed a crime like this and caught, wouldn’t their medical license be taken away? Not necessarily. Is your doctor on probation for misconduct?

The New California Law

It’s horrible that so many women have been assaulted, but a plethora of good has come from the female Olympic athletes who spoke out against their team doctor and the women who voiced their stories in the #MeToo movement.

One example of progress can be found in the new California law enacted in September 2018 called the Patient Right to Know Act. This law states that physicians are required to inform patients when they were put on probation for harming those under their care. There is already a public directory in place that shares this information, but most patients are unaware of its existence (if your doctor is in California, you can look for your doctor’s name here. For other states, conduct a Google search that says, “how can I find out if my doctor is on probation in {your state here}?” The website for your medical board should appear.)

With this new law in place, physicians on probation after July 1, 2019, are required to alert clients about their status before an appointment.

Doctors may be put on probation for the following reasons:

  • Sexual misconduct against a patient
  • Drug abuse that can be harmful to patients
  • A criminal conviction which resulted in harm to patients
  • Inappropriate prescribing resulting in patient harm

“It’s never made sense that doctors have had to tell their insurance companies, hospitals and clinics when they are put on probation, but not the people who are most at risk — their patients,” stated Lee Harris, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California.

According to the LA Times, surgeons, osteopaths, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists and acupuncturists are also bound by the new law.

The relationship between you and your doctor is important and you need to feel safe, heard, and cared for to receive the optimum care that you deserve. If you don’t feel this way about your doctor, it may be time to search for a new one. Furthermore, this only affects California. We think other states should follow their lead.

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Sources
“California doctors must tell patients if put on probation for sexual misconduct under new law”. LA Times. Accessed October 31, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-doctor-probation-law-20180920-story.html
“New Law Requires Doctors on Probation to Disclose Discipline to Patients”. NBC San Diego. Accessed October 31, 2018. https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/New-Law-Requires-Doctors-to-Disclose-Past-Discipline-to-Patients-493909811.html

Periscope Group is not owned by or operated on behalf of any attorney or law firm. We are not affiliated with any drug or medical device companies. We do not host advertisements nor do we accept advertising requests. We are here to help YOU, the consumer, become better educated and supported. You pay absolutely nothing for our help. It’s as simple as that.

Periscope Group is not owned by or operated on behalf of any attorney or law firm. We are not affiliated with any drug or medical device companies. We do not host advertisements nor do we accept advertising requests. We are here to help YOU, the consumer, become better educated and supported. You pay absolutely nothing for our help. It’s as simple as that.

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© All Rights Reserved • 2017 • Periscope Group, 4155 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Suite 100, Danville, CA 94506 Legal Disclaimer

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