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Cholesterol Drug Linked to 40 Deaths Finally Pulled Off Market

Several recent stories reported how the Bayer Corp. has voluntarily removed a well known cholesterol drug, Baycol, from the market after it has been connected up to 40 deaths. One particular article appearing in the August 8, 2001 MSNBC website stated that the drug was taken by 700,000 Americans, and was taken off off the market as a result of muscle destruction related to a minimum of 40 deaths worldwide.

In accordance with a comparable story within the August 9, 2001 New York Times Health section, the United States Food and Drug Administration "agrees with and supports this decision," the agency said. It said pharmacists could be instructed to send back the drug to Bayer for refunds. The F.D.A. approved Baycol to be used in the United States in 1997. It ought to be noted that no where in the reports did it say how the FDA has removed its approval for Baycol. Baycol was in a category of medication called "Statins". "All statins happen to be associated with muscle cell damage in rare cases, perhaps the biggest issue is a lot more normal with Baycol compared to other such drugs," said Dr. John Jenkins, the director of the office of drug evaluation at the F.D.A. The Times article states, "From the start, medical professionals said, statins were proven to result in the muscle problem, rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney failure as well as other problems. Nevertheless it occurred hardly ever and was very rarely fatal." With Baycol, however, reports of serious rhabdomyolysis were about ten times as frequent as with the other statins, Dr. Jenkins said. Lawsuits have started to show up following the drug being taken off this market. Based on the website DrKoop.com, a Tallahassee, Florida woman has sued Bayer Corp., claiming its recently recalled cholesterol drug, Baycol, caused her to suffer muscle degeneration and chronic fatigue. Separately the Chicago-based law practice of Kenneth B. Moll & Associates said it intends to file a class action lawsuit against Bayer in Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of all patients who were prescribed Baycol. The law firm, which estimates that about 6 million people worldwide have taken the drug, said the suit will seek amongst other things the establishment of a medical monitoring fund "to enable people that have taken Baycol to monitor the existence of dangerous side effects."

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