ALBANY — Jurors in Houston County have awarded $20.5 million to a woman injured by Methylene Blue, a drug manufactured and marketed by pharmaceutical maker Akorn Inc.
Paul Phillips of the Albany-based Flynn, Peeler & Phillips law firm represented plaintiffs Ann and Anthony Pope against Illinois-headquartered Akorn Pharmaceutical. Also representing the plaintiffs was Andy Childers of Childers, Schlueter & Smith of Atlanta.
According to Phillips, justice was served in the case.
“I have never seen clearer, more egregious conduct by a defendant, without any coherent explanation,” the attorney said. “Akorn could have easily prevented Ann’s injury, but it chose not to warn her health care providers about the dangerous interaction between its Methylene Blue and a common medication Ann was taking, despite knowing about the interaction for more than two years.”
According to reports, Ann Pope sustained injuries from Methylene Blue, an unapproved drug product used as a dye in certain surgical procedures. Pope’s injuries included Serotonin Syndrome, a condition whose symptoms include high body temperature, agitation, increased reflexes, tremor, sweating, dilated pupils and diarrhea. Body temperature can increase to greater than 106 degrees, according to reports. Complications may include seizures and extensive muscle breakdown.
Pope’s injuries left her hospitalized for nearly three weeks, most of which she was in a coma. Since then, she has suffered long-term cognitive problems with processing and memory.
The jury returned a verdict of slightly more than $3 million in compensatory damages. In the punitive damages phase of the trial, the jury awarded $17.5 million to punish and deter Akorn. The total verdict was in excess of $20.5 million, and according to Phillips, is believed to be the largest pharmaceutical injury verdict ever awarded in the state of Georgia.
“After hearing the evidence of Akorn’s conscious decision not to warn health care providers about the dangerous interaction, the jury rightly decided to impose punitive damages,” Phillips said. “We hope this jury’s strong message causes Akorn to change its ways and deters them from ever putting people at risk again. The Popes are fine people who suffered real harm from Akorn’s total disregard for the safety of its drug.”