The Deadly History of Darvon and Darvocet

by admin on February 23, 2011

The Deadly History of Darvon and Darvocet

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Home Page > Law > Health and Safety > The Deadly History of Darvon and Darvocet

The Deadly History of Darvon and Darvocet

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Posted: Feb 22, 2011 |Comments: 0

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The prescription painkillers Darvon and Darvocet both contain the same opiate drug dextropropoxyphene, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a postoperative pain reliever in 1957. Darvocet also contains the NSAID drug acetaminophen. For the next five decades, evidence that these two drugs were dangerous, even deadly, kept piling up. Consumer advocate groups like Public Citizen have been warning the public about Darvon and Darvocet since 1978, but the FDA took no action until thirty years later. Why did it take so long for the FDA to ask for a recall of Darvon and Darvocet?

The FDA is often criticized for being slow to take action against dangerous drugs like Darvon and Darvocet, with many watchdog groups accusing the agency of being too cozy with Big Pharma. Drug companies like Eli Lilly and Company, maker of Darvon and Darvocet, are often reluctant to release damaging information about the dangers of their products, and the FDA at times seems to aid and abet this public deception. The deadly history of Darvon and Darvocet is merely one example.

The Evidence Against Darvon and Darvocet

Public Citizen’s warnings to the FDA about Darvon and Darvocet began in the late 1970s after research increasingly found dextropropoxyphene to be highly addictive. Further research also highlighted a link between Darvon and Darvocet and a dangerous buildup of biological toxins in patients’ heart tissue.

Soon, evidence also emerged that dextropropoxyphene was leading to suicidal tendencies. It is still unknown precisely how many deaths from suicide or dextropropoxyphene overdose have been caused by Darvon and Darvocet, but the number is likely in the hundreds. However, since 1981, well over 2,000 accidental deaths have been linked to heart rhythm abnormalities caused by Darvon and Darvocet.

Great Britain Takes Action to Stop Darvon and Darvocet Deaths

Recognizing the danger posed to the public, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA), finally took Darvon and Darvocet off the market in 2005. Despite this move by its UK counterpart, the FDA still took no action on Darvon and Darvocet. Based on reports of Darvon and Darvocet deaths in Florida between 2005 and 2009, Public Citizen estimates that 1-2 thousand of US patients died from taking Darvon and Darvocet between the UK ban and FDA’s eventual recall of the drugs in November 2010.

Actually, the FDA is frequently beaten to the punch by the MHPRA in protecting patients from dangerous prescription drugs and issuing defective drug recalls. Many consumer advocates cite this problem as evidence of FDA’s lax oversight of the pharmaceutical industry compared to its counterparts in the UK, Canada, and Europe.

A year after the UK Darvon and Darvocet recall, Public Citizen again warned the FDA to take Darvon and Darvocet off the US market. However, it took two more years and a lawsuit before the FDA took any action at all. An FDA advisory panel in 2009 recommended that Darvon and Darvocet be recalled, and the agency finally asked for a full defective drug recall in November of 2010.

How many more patients will suffer wrongful death from other dangerous drugs left on the market by the FDA?


About the Author:
If you believe you have been injured or made ill by a defective prescription drug in North Carolina or Virginia, please visit the pharmaceutical injury attorneys of Kalfus & Nachman online to find out about your legal options.
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