Bernstein Liebhard Files Amicus Curiae Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of Healthcare Advocates and Union Health & Welfare Funds In Wyeth v. Levine
On August 14, 2008, Bernstein Liebhard LLP (“BL”) filed an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief with the United States Supreme Court in Wyeth v. Levine, supporting the plaintiff-respondent Diana Levine, on behalf of healthcare amici, including Anju Budhwani, M.D., Arthur Levin, MPH, Curt D. Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., Rahul Sharma, MD, MBA, and on behalf of third party payor amici, including the Health and Welfare Fund and Retiree Health and Welfare Fund of the Detectives Endowment Association, Police Department, City of New York, Canton Electrical Welfare Fund of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 540, and the Ohio Carpenters Health Fund.
Diana Levine’s right hand and forearm were amputated after receiving a medication called Phenergan by IV push injection. The drug was inadvertently administered outside her vein and into the surrounding tissue, ultimately resulting in gangrene. Amicus brief provides the Supreme Court with, among other things: (1) information about the cost of unreasonably unsafe drugs to third-party payor self-insureds; (2) a detailed history surrounding the FDA-approved warning on Phenergan – which failed to explain to doctors the severity of the risks Phenergan posed to patients; and (3) detailed evidence showing that Phenergan poses substantial risks to patients and that neither doctors nor the FDA were ever informed of the extent of the risks.
Dr. Furberg is widely recognized as a drug safety expert and has served on the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Arthur Levin is the Director of Center for Medical Consumers and has served on the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Dr. Sharma is an Assistant Professor and Attending Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Budhwani is a pulmonologist with Medsleep in Linden, New Jersey. The third party payor amici are self-insured funds that collectively manage an aggregate of $61 million in plan assets that are used to provide health insurance coverage to over 62,000 covered lives. Together, amici represent varying perspectives, all of whom want the Court to know how dangerous and costly the drug Phenergan was as marketed to the public (and approved by the FDA) before Ms. Levine was injured.