Below are some of our videos explaining the potential dangers of using Uloric. To learn more about the types of injuries that have been linked to this medication, and the legal claims that have been filed, click Uloric injuries.
Popular Gout Medication Uloric Linked To Increase Risk Of Death
Farron Cousins: You know every so often we get new reports coming out about yet another dangerous pharmaceutical on the market. A pharmaceutical basically that also shouldn't exist, because there's already decent generic cheaper alternatives available. But big pharma always wants to turn an additional profit, so they always keep coming out with brand new drugs to treat the same old things they've already been treating for 40 or 50 years. And that's the case with a drug called Uloric that's been on the market now for just slightly over 10 years, and we're starting to find out now that it has very serious cardiovascular dangers, that actually might include death.
Farron Cousins: Joining me now to talk about what we know about this drug, Uloric, is attorney Wesley Bowden. Wes, Uloric, used to treat gout.
Wes Bowden: That's right.
Farron Cousins: Gout is actually fairly more common than most people think. It's not something we typically think about, gout, as disease that existed a long time ago. But it's still around, it's a very painful form of arthritis. So, you've got drug companies come out and said, "Hey, we've got this great new drug, Uloric. You've been depending on this generic version for 50 years, try our new drug, because it's better." Isn't it? It's always just better.
Wes Bowden: Right. And gout is a more prominent disease than most people would realize. But it's also a very manageable disease. And historically there have been medications that are very effective in treating gout, that have been on the market for literally decades. So, what we have here with Uloric is a manufacturer's come into the market, and we see a way that we can make money, by selling our much more expensive drug. And what they did was when they took this drug to market, they added some warnings, but the warnings weren't in line with what the real world feedback was.
Wes Bowden: And so as of about 30, 60 days ago, the FDA has required increased warnings for Uloric. Much stronger warnings than what are currently in place for the generics.
Farron Cousins: So, what kind of additional warnings are we now going to have on this particular medication?
Wes Bowden: On this medication the FDA, based on data they got from the company and from treating physicians throughout the country, what was required to happen was as they see adverse events, they have to report them to the FDA. And these adverse events started piling up and piling up and piling up, eventually the FDA said, "We might have a problem here, we need to take a closer look." When they took that closer look they found that Uloric specifically had an increased risk of cardiovascular related death, as compared to the generics.
Wes Bowden: Because of that, they've required that Uloric add a new warning, advising patients, advising doctors that this drug has a higher risk profile than the other medications. And, just as importantly, they said don't give this drug to your patients unless the generic does not work, which is really a rare warning to add to any sort of pharmaceutical product.
Farron Cousins: It's almost like the warning is telling doctors don't prescribe this drug unless it's 100% necessary. You've been handling these cases for a long time, I've been talking about these stories for years now. I don't know that I've seen that yet, the FDA actually telling doctors do not give this to people unless it's your last resort. To me, that says a lot. And for a lot of people, you're going to do just fine on the generic.
Wes Bowden: Right.
Farron Cousins: But, as we have said so often, the pharmaceutical companies come in, they see any market out there, whatever it is, and they say those aren't patients, those are profits. That's money sitting on the table out there, so let's come up with this drug that's slightly different from the generic, different enough to get us a new patent for it ...
Wes Bowden: That's right.
Farron Cousins: ... which lasts 10 to 20 years, really the only I think industrialized country that does that, that grants these decades long patents before generics can come out. But we already had the generic. This was 100% unnecessary, and that's what I think people need to understand. Not only could it kill you, according to the adverse event reports, it wasn't even a necessity. It's more expensive. All around we're talking about something very dangerous that consumers need to be aware of, and that as you pointed out, up until 30, 60 days ago, they didn't know about this. But this thing got approved for the market for release in February 2009. That's 10 years of people taking this, not knowing that this was a possibility.
Wes Bowden: That's right, yeah. And there's a very small percentage of people for which the generics do not work. But of course that's not the way they've marketed it and sold this drug. They've sold this drug as the latest and greatest, the most up to date drug that you can have for gout medication. We know that the other generics they work, they're cheap, they're affordable, they're widely available. What this company has done is they've tried to make a market where there wasn't a need.
Wes Bowden: And so as a result of that, the FDA's taken action to curtail that. And anyone who's taking this drug, I would encourage them to talk with their doctors, and see if that's the right medication for them.
Farron Cousins: You know, Mike Papantonio frequently likes to say, "Don't take a drug unless it's been on the market for 20 years or more."
Wes Bowden: Good advice.
Farron Cousins: Because these pharmaceuticals, it's not like the latest cell phone that comes out once a year. It's not better, more improved. Some of these carry very serious risks and in the case of pharmaceuticals, newer does not necessarily always mean better. Wesley Bowden, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today.
Wes Bowden: Thanks for having me.