Buzzfeed News recently published a shocking report about nearly 70 patients who say they were blinded or left partially blind by an off-brand version of the cataract drug TriMoxi. TriMoxi is a medication used to speed up healing, eliminating the need for eye drops after cataract surgery.
The Buzzfeed article highlights the story of Curtis Cosby, a truck driver, who underwent cataract surgery in February 2017 and went blind in his right eye two weeks later. Cosby received the medication after his surgery, which is delivered via injection to the eye. Back on the job, he was on the road when something blew through the window into his left eye. When he began rubbing it, he realized he couldn’t see out of his right eye.
He pulled over and called his surgeon, Kate Lee, and made an appointment for the following day. That’s when Lee apologized to him and told him there had been issues with the drug and that other patients had returned with the same symptoms. A specialist gave him an aspirin in the hopes it would increase blood flow back to the eye, but the remedy didn’t work.
Cosby has been forced into early retirement due to his failing eyesight, and he is afraid to undergo any more surgeries.
Other patients like Cosby who received the knockoff version of TriMoxi report inability to perceive depth or colors. Others see halos, flashing lights, glare, or just darkness. Some patients are consistently disoriented, suffering from headaches and nausea, preventing them from working or driving. The 68 affected patients underwent surgery from January 31 to February 21, 2018 with different doctors, but all received injections from the same compounding company and pharmacy.
Lawsuits filed; more expected
Patients who were blinded by the drug are bringing claims against the following three entities:
- Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), the company that developed the drug
- Guardian Pharmacy Services, the pharmacy that mixed the drug
- The clinics that administered the drug
Two patients have officially filed lawsuits, and dozens of others – including Cosby – are next. All three entities are pointing fingers at each other. PCCA claims the problem is in how the pharmacy mixed the medicine. Guardian denies any issue or link between its products and the patients’ vision problems. The clinics say the drug is solely to blame and deny any responsibility.
These lawsuits shine a new light on the big business of compounding pharmacies – companies that make drugs for patients who need custom products not sold by pharmaceutical companies (like a pill in liquid form, for example). These pharmacies must follow federal regulations regarding the ingredients used in compounded drugs, but there’s little government oversight regarding the safety and effectiveness of the end product.
Larry Sasich, a pharmacist in Ontario, Canada, told Buzzfeed News, “It’s hard for me to remember a case in which there has been such disregard for patient safety regarding the preparation of a compounded drug.” Sasich tracks the compounding industry and is not involved in the lawsuits.
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product or medication, the attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can help. We provide smart, skilled, and compassionate representation. Please call 877-686-8879, or fill out our contact form, and schedule your free consultation with an experienced lawyer at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.