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Fen-Phen, Pondimin & Redux Lawsuits

By Aaron Larson
March, 2005


The drugs Fen Phen, Redux, and Pondimin were frequently prescribed in the late 1990's to assist with weight loss.

What is Fen-Phen

"Fen Phen", produced by American Home Products, refers to the simultaneous prescription of fenfluramine (Fen...) and phentermine (Phen...). In 1996, approximately 18 million prescriptions were written by U.S. doctors for Fen Phen.

What is Pondimin

Pondimin (Fenfluramine Hydrochloride) is the "Fen" referenced in "Fen Phen". This drug was manufactured by A.H. Robbins under the brand name Pondimin.

What is Redux

Redux ( Dexfenfluramine Hydrochloride) was manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst.

Factual Background

Up to twenty percent of patients who took Fen Phen, Pondimin and Redux suffered heart damage, including:

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) - The drugs Fen Phen and Pondimin are associated with PPH, a condition caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs. This extremely serious condition, usually progressive in nature, can cause high blood pressure and can lead to heart failure. PPH has been associated with the use of Fen Phen and Pondimin; and

Damaged Heart Valves - The drugs Fen Phen and Redux have been associated with damage to the mitral and aortic valves of the heart.

The dangers of Pondimin and Redux comes from their being simultaneously prescribed with phentermine. Although Pondimin and Redux had been approved for short-term treatment of obesity, the FDA was not asked to approve the combination of those drugs with phentermine - nor was any such approval required by law.

Following growing safety concerns, at the request of the FDA the makers of Redux and Pondimin voluntarily removed those medications from the market.

Diet Drug Litigation

Manufacturer liability is premised upon the knowledge of the makers of these drugs that their use could lead to primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), but that the manufacturers underplayed the health risks in order to maintain the very lucrative market for these medications.

Much of the litigation appeared to be nearing an end, but due to large numbers of dubious and fraudulent submissions of claims, the class action settlement of Fen Phen claims has not yet been resolved. At least two doctors have been sued by the trust created by the settlement for their role in preparing and submitting fraudulent claims.

About The Author
Aaron Larson is a Michigan lawyer whose practice emphasizes civil appeals and litigation consulting. Copyright © 2005, Aaron Larson, all rights reserved.
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