Landmark Baycol trial begins in Texas

HOUSTON, TX, Feb. 18, 2003 -- The first Baycol case in the country began February 18, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Matthew Lundy, co-counsel for the plaintiff, Hollis Haltom, says the outcome of this trial could set a precedent for the thousands of other similar lawsuits pending across the country.

More than 7,000 lawsuits have been filed against the German pharmaceutical giant, Bayer Corporation, the manufacturer of Baycol. Baycol was pulled from the market by Bayer in 2001, after it was linked to numerous deaths and serious health problems.

Baycol is one of the family of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. It is estimated that 700,000 people in America regularly consumed the drug between the time it was introduced in 1997 and the recall in August of 2001. Baycol was a highly profitable product for Bayer, with approximately $568 million worth of the drug being sold during a 12-month period.

The primary health problem allegedly caused by Baycol is rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which the muscle tissue breaks down, eventually getting into the bloodstream and damaging the kidneys and liver. Baycol-induced rhabdomyolysis has been allegedly linked to more than 100 deaths.

Haltom was a very active 80-year-old retired engineer living with his wife of 58 years in Corpus Christi. He enjoyed boating, fishing, dancing and was considered a proficient handyman. Haltom was taking another statin to manage his cholesterol when his doctor switched him to Baycol in May of 2001. "He began experiencing weakness within days, couldn't stand without assistance and was hospitalized within three weeks at Corpus Christi Medical Center where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis," states Ricky Brantley, a Ft. Worth attorney serving as co-counsel for Mr. Haltom.

Although Haltom stopped taking Baycol after just two weeks, he is still plagued with the health problems resulting from its use. He has difficulty walking due to weakness in his legs, he is fatigued and weak, and has suffered permanent loss of muscle. "Mr. Haltom continues to struggle to regain the quality of life he once had, and lost, as a result of Baycol," says Lundy.

According to Mikal Watts, one of the lead trial attorneys from Corpus Christi for Haltom, Bayer did not provide proper warnings regarding the drug's side affects in their rush to get a share of the popular, and profitable, statin market to bolster their financially-strapped corporation.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

Source: Lundy & Davis Law Firm

Posted: February 2003


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