Levaquin Production Stopped by J&J/Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, part of Johnson & Johnson, has stopped production of (brand-name) Levaquin, according to the article, “Drug maker stopped making popular antibiotic Levaquin amid concerns about mental health side effects” published on the Indianapolis ABC affiliate RTV6 The Indy Channel. Janssen/J&J stopped producing both oral and IV Levaquin in December, 2017. The discontinuation of Levaquin production was confirmed by a Janssen/J&J spokesperson who stated, “The decision to discontinue LEVAQUIN was made due to the wide availability of alternative treatment options, and our focus on developing innovative medicines designed to address unmet medical patient needs.” Though that statement is BS propaganda, it is a direct confirmation from a Janssen Pharmaceuticals spokesperson that JANSSEN/JOHNSON & JOHNSON HAS DISCONTINUED PRODUCTION OF LEVAQUIN.

THIS IS REALLY BIG NEWS! IT’S HUGE! WHOA!

LEVAQUIN HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MARKET!

Unfortunately, there is still plenty of levofloxacin (generic Levaquin, made by hundreds or thousands of generic pharmaceutical producers) on the market, and it is maiming (and killing) thousands of people each year. The fight against these drugs is far from over.

Still, the removal of brand-name LEVAQUIN from the market is a really big deal, and it’s something that we, as a community, should celebrate.

We did this. All the people who filed complaints with the FDA, who testified before the FDA, EMA, and other regulatory agencies, who reached out to the press and told their stories, who shared their story of pain and suffering brought on by fluoroquinolones, all the people who shared articles about fluoroquinolone toxicity, all the scientists who did research showing the harm done by fluoroquinolones, all the advocates, all the people in the floxie community, and all the people who listened–we did this! We screamed loudly enough that people listened. Our efforts made a difference, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals has stopped making Levaquin.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead

I never thought that one of the pharmaceutical giants that has made billions from fluroquinolones would stop making them. Janssen Pharmaceuticals and J&J are huge–they are behemoths–and I never thought that we could move or effect them. But we did.

The efforts of everyone in the “floxie” community contributed to this outcome. We–you–should be proud.

That is my optimistic take on things. We all have an optimistic side. We all have a pessimistic side too, and here’s the bad news.

Janssen decided to stop making Levaquin because, a) their market share was small because generic levofloxacin is cheaper and widely available (“’Levaquin was only about 1 percent of the market share, and 99 percent was the generic,’ said Bennett.”), and b) they were facing significant lawsuits, and to avoid liability for the drugs they created, they pulled them from the market.

Victims of pharmaceuticals can’t sue drug-makers for harming them, they can only sue for “failure to warn” of the dangers of the drugs. This is ridiculous – I can sue you for hitting me in the face with a sledgehammer even if you warn me that you’re going to do it and that it’s going to hurt – but pharmaceutical companies aren’t held to the same standards as you or me. It’s assumed that their deadly products are mainly good and that warning of the potential for bad effects is sufficient to wash their hands of liability and responsibility. On top of that, they don’t even have to directly warn YOU, they only have to say that they warned your doctor, the “learned intermediary” of the dangers of the drugs (or, at least they have to in theory – it’s assumed that doctors actually know what’s on the warning labels for pharmaceuticals… but most don’t). Both the “failure to warn” notion and the “learned intermediary” notions are crap, and I hate them, but they’re how the system is set up.

Because victims of pharmaceuticals can only sue for “failure to warn” the door for them to sue is only open when the drug warning labels change. Fluoroquinolone warning labels have undergone significant changes in recent years. In reverse-chronological order, the following warning label changes have been added to fluoroquinolone labels:

  • In July, 2018, fluoroquinolone warning labels were changed to note that, “Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics: FDA Requires Labeling Changes Due to Low Blood Sugar Levels and Mental Health Side Effects” – Drug Safety Communication
  • In July, 2016, fluoroquinolone warning labels were changed to note that, “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA advises restricting fluoroquinolone antibiotic use for certain uncomplicated infections; warns about disabling side effects that can occur together” – Drug Safety Communication
  • In May, 2016, fluoroquinolone warning labels were changed to note that, “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA updates warnings for oral and injectable fluoroquinolone antibiotics due to disabling side effects” – Drug Safety Communication
  • In August, 2013, fluoroquinolone warning labels were changed to note that, “FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA requires label changes to warn of risk for possibly permanent nerve damage from antibacterial fluoroquinolone drugs taken by mouth or by injection” – Drug Safety Communication
  • In July, 2008, fluoroquinolone warning labels were changed to note that, “FDA is notifying the makers of fluoroquinolone antimicrobial drugs for systemic use of the need to add a boxed warning to the prescribing information about the increased risk of developing tendinitis and tendon rupture in patients taking fluoroquinolones and to develop a Medication Guide for patients.” – Drug Safety Communication

With each of these warning label changes, the door opened for people to sue Janssen and Johnson & Johnson for the harm that Levaquin did to them. (It should be noted that each of these warning labels changed because of advocacy done by the “floxie” community. We screamed, and, slowly, the FDA listened.) Some people did successfully sue the drug companies that hurt them–they gained some compensation and justice.

Perhaps it’s cynical, but it certainly seems more logical than the BS explanation the Janssen spokesperson gave (noted above) that the reason that Janssen Pharmaceuticals took Levaquin off the market was because they didn’t want to be held liable for the blood sugar level changes and the mental health side-effects of Levaquin. They weren’t making much money off it anyhow (because of generics taking the bulk of the market share), this warning label update opened up a new load of liability, and they did a cost-benefit analysis that led them to take it off the market.

All’s well that ends well, and they took Levaquin off the market, and that’s a good thing, right? Well, it’s more complicated than that.

Because of a stupid and asinine rule put in place by the FDA and a lousy decision of the Supreme Court, victims of generic pharmaceuticals cannot sue generic pharmaceutical manufacturers. It all goes back to the “failure to warn” rules noted above. The FDA says that only brand-name drug manufacturers can change drug warning labels, and since generic drug manufacturers can’t change the warning labels, they cannot be held responsible for what’s on the warning labels. This results in victims of generic drugs being unable to hold anyone responsible for the harm done to them by the drugs. There have been a couple cases where brand-name drug companies were held responsible for the harm done by generic drugs, but the precedent wasn’t set very solidly, and most attorneys in most states still aren’t taking cases of people who have been hurt by generic pharmaceuticals. Still, I think that Janssen and J&J saw the writing on the wall–that they could potentially be held responsible for all the Levaquin and levofloxacin-induced mental health side effects, permanently disabling side effects, permanent peripheral neuropathy, tendon tears, and more. So, they hedged their bets. Their legal team, I’m betting, will now argue that they can’t be held responsible for the harm done by levofloxacin because they don’t even make Levaquin any more, and how can they be held responsible for a product that they don’t even produce? My reply is that they can, and should, be held responsible for the drug that THEY CREATED. Johnson & Johnson created and held the patent on Levaquin for a long time. They made billions of dollars off of it. They can, and should, be held responsible for the effects of their creation. The generic drug companies should also be held responsible for the harm that their drugs do, and the FDA should be held responsible for their warning labels (and failure to warn the public about these incredibly dangerous drugs).

We pushed the FDA to change their warning labels. They did, and we should be proud of that. The warning label changes scared Janssen and J&J enough that they stopped production of Levaquin, and we should be proud of that too.

We should also be diligent about the consequences of the removal of Levaquin from the market, and we should continue to work for change in the legal/justice system so that it leans more toward justice for victims, and less toward corporate protection. It is horridly difficult for victims of pharmaceuticals to gain justice or compensation through the legal system as it is currently set up. Janssen pharmaceuticals just made a move to make it even more difficult for victims of Levaquin and levofloxacin to gain justice.

Know what they’re doing. Stay on top of them. Celebrate our victories, then come back to the battlefield fighting. As long as millions of prescriptions of levofloxacin are distributed each year, and thousands of people are maimed by the drugs, our fight isn’t over.

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10 thoughts on “Levaquin Production Stopped by J&J/Janssen Pharmaceuticals

  1. Vicki Hillig July 30, 2018 at 6:45 am Reply

    Levofloxacin ruined my life. Peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, depression. I have been ‘floxed’ since 2002. It made me psychotic after only taking my first two 500mg doses. I am one of the unfortunate patients unable to sue the manufacture because I was prescribed a generic brand of Levaquin. Where is our justice? My family has suffered as well, having to care for me and watch me suffer daily chronic pain and depression.

  2. Tracy Whiteside July 30, 2018 at 7:05 am Reply

    Mass murdering mongrels need to be in prison, I’ve contacted the Texas attorney Generals office, the Texas Attorney General sued these mass murderers over Risperdal, years ago, and, they got 2.3 billion dollars from them, pocket change, as far as I’m concerned, they’re still committing mass murder with Xarelto, Levaquin is genocide, help me, can all the Texas Floxxies, also contact the Yexas Attorney General, there is strength in numbers , please help me, contact the Texas Attorney General, and, your own Attorney General in your state, let’s get these murderers, and, let’s get them good, please, God bless all of you.

  3. Jerzy Tyszkowski July 30, 2018 at 8:13 am Reply

    They are rushing took this drug ASAP. If you think that is about psychiatric problems – I do not think so, It is much much worse. Tracy Please contact me.

  4. June Smith July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am Reply

    This 75 year old Canadian has tears in her eyes… happy for the long overdue decision and woefully sad for everyone affectedAmazing job done by all who gave their all to get this done! I was prescribed ten days of Norfloxacin in 2016 fir a UTI…. have a type if neuropathy and body has never been the same, however not As bad as some people have suffered… again, congratulations… you have saved many people from this poison in future

    June, North Bay Ontario, Canada

  5. Stacey Weyenberg July 31, 2018 at 4:31 am Reply

    Thank You and God Bless You again. I could write a book just on my life after FQs, and You could write many. Thank You for Your faithful workings to inform humanity to the best of Your ability. My Family celebrates with You… The monster is being noticed…

  6. andrew smith July 31, 2018 at 5:45 pm Reply

    Sounds like a bunch of people hoping to make a stink to earn some blood money.

    • Tracy Whiteside July 31, 2018 at 7:38 pm Reply

      Looks like a Johnson and Johnson Salesperson left us a threat

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  7. Tracy Whiteside August 1, 2018 at 5:19 am Reply

    Sounds like a bitter Pharmaceutical Rep from Johnson and Toxin, who’s mad, because, he can’t murder any more people with Levaquin, Maybe, it’s one of mass murdering, eugenicist, Margaret HAMBURGS children, since being a mass murder is a generational thing, Margaret Hamburg has earned billions of dollars from our hell, death, and, misery, with her Securities fraud, from her 500 million investment into Johnson and Johnson, after the Goldman Sachs lieawyers told her, she had to divest herself from all Pharmaceutical Stocks, while the Goldman Sachs lieawyers at the SEC, protect their fellow mass murdering idol, and, are fully complicit in her Securities fraud. Levaquin victims should inundate Goldman Sachs, formerly the SEC, with letters protesting their Securities Fraud, the SEC is beyond corrupt.

  8. memcion August 2, 2018 at 7:13 am Reply

    Wow! It’s about time. After how many Billions$$? And thousands of people hurt or killed?

  9. Tracy Whiteside August 2, 2018 at 8:19 am Reply

    It’s fantastic that the greedy, evil mass murderers at Johnson and Johnson, have stopped manufacturing death by Levaquin, I can assure you they didn’t do it, out of ait my form of benevolence, probably just that their patent has expired, it’s still out there to kill in the form of its generic equivalent, Levofloxacin, The state of Texas sued the mass murdering goons at Johnson and Johnson, over Risperdal, along with many other states, all the states won billions of dollars from the murderers at Johnson and Johnson, of course, only the state benefits from this money, not the victims, but, still if we ahave lol contact our own Attorneys General in each state, we could collectively cost them many billions of dollars, contact your state Attorney General, tell them that the taxpayers have to foot the bill for our injuries, ask them to sue Johnson and Johnson, like they did over Risoerday, and, watch the billions of dollars in fines to the mass murdering goons at Johnson and Johnson, pile up and up, and, up, please, it’s important

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