Jury clears J&J in another Levaquin injury case

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has prevailed in its latest court fight over the antibiotic Levaquin. A New Jersey jury found J&J's Ortho-McNeil-Janssen unit wasn't liable for tendon injuries suffered by two men treated with the drug. The verdict follows a win for J&J in one Minnesota case and a $1.8 million damages award in another, bringing the tally to 2-1 in favor of the company.

New Jersey residents Paul Gaffney and Robert Beare had claimed their Achilles tendons ruptured after they were prescribed Levaquin for respiratory infections. Their lawsuit alleged the company didn't adequately warn Levaquin patients and doctors about the risks of tendon injury. U.S. patients have filed some 2,600 lawsuits claiming Levaquin caused their tendon injuries.

At the direction of the FDA in 2008, the labeling on Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone drugs were revised to add "black box" warnings about tendon ruptures. But Gaffney and Beare's lawyers contended J&J knew Levaquin was more likely to be associated with tendon damage than its sister drugs were and didn't communicate that additional risk. The company said the FDA doesn't require that sort of warning and maintained its warnings were adequate. The jury agreed, voting 8-1 in favor of J&J.

"The evidence showed Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals properly informed of the benefits and risks associated with the use of Levaquin and that the company acted responsibly by providing appropriate and timely information," Janssen spokesman William Foster told Bloomberg.

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