Articles Posted in Dangerous/Defective Drugs

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The Florida Injury Lawyer Blog sometimes reports on out of state events which may impact Florida citizens. While this post deals with events which occurred in CVS Pharmacies in Connecticut, CVS does a significant amount of business in our state as well.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Monday that his office has filed a law suit against CVS Pharmacy Inc., a division of CVS Caremark Corp., for allegedly selling over-the-counter drugs and other products in its stores in Connecticut which had already expired.

Blumenthal said that investigators from the AG’s office found expired over-the-counter medications as well as certain expired food and beverage items on sale in multiple CVS Pharmacy stores in Connecticut during an investigation which took place in 2008 and 2009.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection cooperated with the AG’s office in filing the lawsuit.

In a statement released by the Connecticut AG’s office, Mr. Blumenthal said that “Basic business law and ethics give consumers a right to unspoiled food and safe and effective medicine.” He also pledged to “…fight for significant penalties against CVS, sending a powerful message that expiration dates must be respected. Any item past its expiration date should be off shelves, out of stores.”

Just last month, CVS agreed to pay penalties and fees totaling approximately $875,000 to end an investigation by the New York Attorney General focusing on the sale of expired products in its New York stores.

CVS agreed to implement training for it’s employees and to commit to policies and procedures designed to prevent expired products from being stocked on its shelves.

New York Attorney General Cuomo reached a similar agreement with Rite Aid Corporation which resulted in the company agreeing to pay $1.3 million and to adopt new internal policies procedures.

A CVS spokeswoman had this to say in response to the allegations in Connecticut: “[t]he health and safety of our customers is our top priority, and CVS Pharmacy has a clear product removal policy in place at all of its stores to help ensure that items are removed from store shelves before they reach their expiration dates,” the spokeswoman said. “Any unintentional deviations from this policy that are brought to the company’s attention are quickly rectified for customers. The company is fully committed to maintaining inventory management practices to prevent expired products from being sold to customers.”
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Florida residents beware: the nationwide recall on pre-filled heparin flush syringes and viles manufactured by Am2Pat, Inc. d/b/a Sierra Pre-filled and B. Braun Medical, Inc., due to contamination with the Serratia marcescens bacteria, has been expanded. Unfortunately; for many patients using this dangerous and defective drug, the recall was too late. Several reported cases of the infection were in Florida as well as in other states. The Food and drug Administration (FDA) warned that patients and clinicians should immediately stop using these products.

On January 25, 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a class 1 recall of Sierra heparin or saline pre-filled syringes. A class 1 recall is the FDA’s most serious and is reserved for those situations where using the defective product “will cause serious injury or death.”

This FDA recall expanded upon a Dec. 20, 2007 recall by Manufacturer, Am2Pat, Inc. which targeted only one lot of the pre-filled heparin syringes that were contaminated with Serratia marcescens bacteria. The FDA has since broadened the recall after receiving reports of additional infections linked to Sierra’s pre-filled saline syringes as well.

State health departments have been notified by the CDC that Am2Pat intends to extend the recall of its prefilled heparin and saline flush syringes to encompass all distributed lots of these products because of concerns these syringes may be contaminated with the gram-negative bacteria, Serratia marcescens.

These syringes were manufactured by Am2Pat and may be labeled as: Am2Pat, Sierra Pre-filled, or B. Braun. All of these products will bear the National Drug Code or NDC prefix of: 64054.

These products have been distributed to in-patient and out-patient facilities and directly to patients by home-care companies such as Maryland based Caremax Medical resources, LLC.

In a seperate notice, heparin products manufactured by Baxter were also recalled due to contamination.

Anyone having questions regarding the manufacturer of prefilled syringes they are using should call the FDA and should save the packaging to help identify the distributor company that provided the syringes.
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