Think You Know Why Levaquin is One of the Most Prescribed Drugs?

Levaquin is so often prescribed for bacterial infections that it was the best-selling antibiotic drug in the United States in 2010, with sales of about $1.5 billion. Today, despite the known associated risk of irreversible peripheral neuropathy that may come with taking Levaquin, there are no signs that Levaquin is becoming any less popular for treating bacterial infections.

Now, here’s the kicker: Levaquin is a very heavy-duty antibiotic that should only be prescribed for serious, life-threatening infections.

We are no crystal ball readers but we can imagine that a good bulk of those infections in 2010 were not life-threatening. So why is Levaquin prescribed so often? And, more to the point, why is something so routine as an ear or urinary tract infection treated with such a heavyweight and risk-heavy antibiotic? Likewise, why is a healthy adult with bronchitis prescribed something that could (literally) beat out the anthrax virus?

It’s simple: the manufacturer of Levaquin, Johnson & Johnson, did all that they could to promote the antibiotic, while at the same time failing to notify doctors and the general public about the serious risk of permanent peripheral neuropathy.

For you to understand how they did just that, you’ll need to learn how new drugs become popular in the first place. It may be a little science, a little anticipation, but the bulk of it comes down to marketing — just like any old product.

For pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson, drug marketing has two main avenues. One, reaching out to patients via brochures, TV and magazine ads. Two, by reaching out to doctors. Here’s how they do that: drug sales representatives, people that pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson employ to promote their drugs and medical devices directly to doctors.

Drug sales representatives and doctors have a long history of working together in the last couple of decades, the premise being that drug sales representatives provide doctors with new information about drugs and treatment options. The hope has always been that these drug sales representatives will do the responsible thing and tell doctors about both the drug’s benefits and its risks. However, that is not always the case.

So back to the question: How did Levaquin become one of the most prescribed drugs in 2010? You guessed it: Johnson & Johnson’s drug representatives did not warn doctors about the true risks of permanent peripheral neuropathy. And that all comes back to Johnson & Johnson and what they should have done to protect patients and did not. Johnson & Johnson continued to fail to warn people until August 2013, when the United States Food and Drug Administration finally stepped in and made Johnson & Johnson issue a new warning about the risk of irreversible peripheral neuropathy.

Would Johnson & Johnson have been able to climb to the top of the pile by 2010 if it had been telling doctors that their drug can permanently disability in its patients?

Probably not.

That’s why we’re letting you know today: If you took Levaquin and suffered peripheral neuropathy — either for days, weeks or even years, please contact one of our Levaquin lawyers at 866-520-2755 or via email here for a free consult to see if you have a potential Levaquin lawsuit case.

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