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Parker & Waichman, LLP Files Suit Against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. on Behalf of Estate of 26-Year-Old Woman Who Died After Using Ortho Evra for 7-1/2 Months - JNJ

Jul 13, 2006 | PrimeZone

Parker & Waichman, LLP ( announced that it has filed suit against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., a division of Johnson and Johnson Inc. (NYSE:JNJ), on behalf of the estate of a 26-year-old woman. The decedent died from an acute pulmonary embolism after using the Ortho Evra birth control patch from November 26, 2002 to July 8, 2003. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. For more information on Ortho Evra and this case, please visit or

On July 8, 2003, the decedent experienced difficulty breathing and collapsed in her home. Paramedics arrived and found the woman in acute respiratory distress. She was taken to the emergency room at St. John Macomb Hospital in Michigan, where emergency room doctors noted she was cyanotic (blue lips and skin) and in severe respiratory distress. The decedent did not respond to CPR and other life-saving measures and was pronounced dead that evening. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as an acute pulmonary embolism.

On November 10, 2005, Ortho McNeil, in conjunction with the FDA, issued a warning about the increased risks of blood clots associated with Ortho Evra. In the new warning, Ortho-McNeil admitted for the first time that women who use the patch will be exposed to up to 60% more estrogen than they would be exposed to if they were taking a birth control pill with 35 micrograms of estrogen. The patch is only intended to deliver 20 micrograms of estrogen. The FDA's announcement on this warning can be found at . It is widely understood that increased exposure to estrogen greatly increases the risk of blood clots, which can cause serious injury or death.

Pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery, usually due to a blood clot that traveled to the lung from the leg, but clots can also form in the pelvic vein. Pulmonary thromboembolism can be fatal or may result in pulmonary arterial obstruction, pulmonary obstruction, pulmonary infarction, chronic pulmonary hypertension, dyspenea and tachypnea. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, anxiety, chest pain, fainting and convulsions. Treatment may include long term use of anticoagulant medications and/or surgery. Recent reports have indicated that the risk of developing blood clots, pulmonary thromboembolism, heart attack and stroke may be significantly higher with the Ortho Evra patch than with oral contraceptive use.

It is alleged that Ortho-McNeil was aware of the increased medical risks associated with Ortho Evra before the drug was approved and that, once approved, the company failed to adequately warn patients about these risks. Evidence shows that the risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke associated with Ortho Evra is significantly higher than with oral contraceptive pills. The incidence of embolisms and thrombotic injuries in Phase III trials of Ortho Evra was reportedly six times greater than the incidence of such events in oral contraceptives using the hormone levonorgestrel. The FDA has logged 9,116 reports of adverse reactions to the patch in a 17-month period, whereas Ortho Tri-Cyclen, a birth control pill, only generated 1,237 adverse reports in a six-year period. During a 12-month period, 44 serious injuries or deaths have been associated with Ortho Evra, whereas only 17 such reports were linked to the birth control pill during a similar time period. The pattern is further magnified when usage rates are considered: Ortho Tri-Cyclen has six times the number of users as Ortho Evra.

Ortho Evra is an adhesive, transdermal birth control patch that users are instructed to apply to their upper torso, upper outer arm, buttock or abdomen. The patch is intended to release 150 mcg of norelgestromin and 20 mcg of ethinyl estradiol into the bloodstream per 24 hours. It is replaced once a week for three weeks, and no patch is worn during the fourth week during menstruation. The regimen is then repeated. Ortho Evra was approved by the FDA in November 2001, and over 4 million women have used Ortho Evra since its approval. Ortho Evra continues to be marketed aggressively to both consumers and physicians.

About Parker & Waichman, LLP

Parker & Waichman, LLP is a leading products liability and personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide. The firm has offices in New York and New Jersey. Parker & Waichman, LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective medications and medical devices. The firm is currently representing individuals injured by Vioxx, Bextra, Zyprexa, Ketek, ReNu with MoistureLoc, Guidant Defibrillators and many other defective drugs and medical products. For more information on Parker & Waichman, LLP please visit: or call (800) YOURLAWYER.

More information on this and other class actions can be found on the Class Action Newsline at

CONTACT:  Parker & Waichman, LLP
          Jason Mark, Esq.
          Melanie H. Muhlstock, Esq.
          (800) YOURLAWYER
          (800) 968-7529, Toll-free

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