The drugs Fen Phen, Redux, and Pondimin were frequently prescribed in the late 1990's to assist with weight loss.
"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.
Pondimin (Fenfluramine Hydrochloride) is the "Fen" referenced in "Fen Phen". This drug was manufactured by A.H. Robbins under the brand name Pondimin.
Redux ( Dexfenfluramine Hydrochloride) was manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst.
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.
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.