Contact 13 Investigates
Lupron verdict in Las Vegas trial deals blow to victims
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - A major defeat in federal court today for women across the country who say their life and health has been destroyed by a drug that's supposed to relieve pain.
It's the first Lupron trial to ever make it before a jury, and Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears was there when the verdict was read.
The young, vibrant, outgoing girl singing in public on video presented to jurors is Karin Klein before Lupron.
Karin Klein now is just a shell of her former self.
"My future is destroyed. I have to suffer for the rest of my life..." she trails off, breaking down in tears.
But after a week-and-a-half long trial, a federal jury ruled Lupron manufacturer Abbott Labs is not liable for Karin's suffering.
"I'm totally shocked because I'm a victim of Lupron. I'm permanently disabled. There are thousands of victims all over the country that are harmed by this drug, Lupron. Abbott is criminal, has a background history of bribery, defrauding the government, the patients and doctors."
In 2001, Abbott--then Takeda Abbott Pharmaceuticals--plead guilty to civil and criminal misconduct over Lupron after the U.S. Department of Justice found doctors and the drug company got rich at the expense of patients and taxpayers.
But the jury in this trial wasn't allowed to hear that, or a lot of other evidence the judge kept out of the courtroom.
"We want to appeal this verdict," Karin said. "This is injustice and unreasonable!"
Karin took Lupron in 2005 when she was just 17 and suffering from pelvic pain.
She says Lupron has permanently damaged her thyroid, stripped her estrogen, caused her severe pain and severe bone density loss.
"The same thing happened to my daughter at 23 that I saw in my mother when she was 88. That doesn't make any sense to me," says Karin's father, Rolf Klein.
Karin's lawyers say she took Lupron and doctors prescribed it based on an untruthful label, which said side effects would be temporary and ultimately fade away.
"But then a year later it didn't go away. Two years later it just got worse," Rolf says.
Entire websites are devoted to Lupron victims who are petitioning Congress to get the drug off the market.
"All victims have the same health problems," Karin says. "They have autoimmune disorder, chronic pain, they are suffering from day to day, every day, they are in pain and tired, they cannot work, they cannot take care of their children, I'm unable to get pregnant."
Her attorneys alleged Abbott has been misleading the FDA since the drug was first approved in 1990, and to this day continues to hide the truth about the risks of Lupron.
"This is the first Lupron trial to make it before a jury. What should other victims take from it?" Darcy Spears asked Karin's attorney.
"I think other victims of Lupron-related diseases and injuries should think to themselves, don't give up," answered Rick Nemeroff. "If you have a valid case and you are able to get before a jury, don't look at this as a setback. Look at this as the first of what could possibly be many more."
What the jury didn't get to hear could be the basis for appeal in this case.
Some of the things the judge kept out of the courtroom include medical articles in scientific journals, some of Karin Klein's own medical records and the FDA's adverse event reports, which are reports made by patients and doctors about other people having problems with Lupron.
They have about 30 days to decide whether to file an appeal.
Abbott's lawyers refused to comment on camera.
The company sent a written statement saying, "We're pleased the jury found Abbott not liable for the plaintiff's alleged injuries. Lupron is an important medication for the conditions it treats and the therapeutic risks are documented in the prescribing label."