Tardive Dyskinesia Class Action
Because the U.S. health care system is privatized and profit-driven and because a corporation's primary duty is to maximize revenue for its shareholders and CEOs. many drugs have been rushed to market and aggressively marketed in recent years before they have been thoroughly tested. Meanwhile, regulations and enforcement of standards have been increasingly lax over the past few decades.
This has resulted in hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions of injuries due to side effects of various drugs. What is even more egregious is that the drug companies basically do not care that people have been harmed by their products; like most manufacturers in the Age of Deregulation, they simply factor the cost of litigation and possible judgments against them in to the cost of producing the product.
A Growing (and Avoidable) Tragedy
Approximately 33% of patients who have been treated with drugs known as dopamine antagonists - which regulate signals between the brain and various muscle groups - develop symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, or TD. These are involuntary movements of the face, jaw, mouth, tongue and eyes that can cause extreme embarrassment and result in social isolation; in some cases, these movements can cause physical discomfort as well.
Today, it is estimated that over two million people in the U.S. suffer from TD. Many of these were prescribed a drug called metoclopramide, which is marketed under the trade name Reglan(R). Although the side effects of this drug have been known for many years, it was not until February of 2009 that the Food and Drug Administration required the manufacturer to place a "black box warning" on the package.
Reglan litigation has just been getting underway, but the number of cases is increasing as more and more TD patients understand the cause of their disorder. It is now getting to the point that many lawyers and litigation firms are beginning to explore the possibility or a class action suit.
What A Class Action Means To You
As party to a class action, you will be joined by hundreds of thousands of other TD victims and their attorneys who will hold the pharmaceutical corporations accountable for their actions.
A "class action" lawsuit is a representative form of legal action unique to U.S. jurisprudence (although courts in the E.U. are adopting forms of it); it makes it possible for large numbers of plaintiffs (the injured parties) to seek redress or compensation across different jurisdictions, states and even countries (provided that a foreign-owned corporation has actually sold a product in the U.S.).
In general, state courts are more favorable toward plaintiffs, while federal courts, due to increasing corporatism in the federal government over the past few decades, are more inclined to find in favor of defendants. In fact, corporate lobbyists were able to get Congress to pass the so-called "Class Action 'Fairness' Act of 2005," which gives corporate-friendly federal courts original jurisdiction over class-actions in which damages exceed $5 million.
Another problem with class actions is that in many cases, the settlement (if in favor of the plaintiff) is lower, meaning that individuals receive far less that they might had they filed individual cases.
At present, there is no tardive dyskinesia class action, although the possibility is being explored by members of the legal community. In the meantime, it is to your advantage to contact a reputable litigation firm with experience in TD cases; these firms will generally evaluate your case free of charge and represent you on a contingency basis - so you will not have to come up with legal fees up front.