Test Subject Sues Pfizer for $1 Million
PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A woman claims in court that she suffered debilitating injuries requiring a double hip replacement after Pfizer canceled a drug test in which she was enrolled - without telling her that it called off the test for precisely the disease from which she was about to suffer.
Candace Stewart sued Pfizer, Summit Research Network and Dr. James Bergthold, in Multnomah County Court.
Stewart says she suffered osteonecrosis, also called bone death, in both hips, after agreeing to be part of the test study of Tanezumab, a monoclonal antibody against nerve growth factor, supposed to work as a painkiller.
The study was run by the three defendants, according to her complaint.
Stewart says she agreed to be in the study in or around September 2009, and withdrew from it in April 2010.
"In or around July 2010, plaintiff went to the doctor because she had been experiencing hip and elbow pain, and needed to walk with a cane," the complaint states. "In or around early August, plaintiff was unable to walk without a cane, and her doctor diagnosed her with osteonecrosis in her hips. Plaintiff contacted Bergthold, who informed plaintiff that Pfizer had halted the Tanezumab test study on or around June 23, 2010 because of the osteonecrosis risk. Prior to receiving this information from Bergthold, plaintiff had no knowledge that the study had been stopped, or that any of the defendants had determined that the risk of osteonecrosis from use of Tanezumab was significant enough that human use of the drug should not be permitted.
"Thereafter, plaintiff informed Pfizer of her osteonecrosis diagnoses, and asked for Pfizer to pay for the cost of her surgery. Pfizer refused to pay for plaintiff's surgery until in or around March 2011, by which time plaintiff's condition had deteriorated to the point she was unable to get out of bed, and needed to be carried from the house for her surgery. Plaintiff underwent two total hip replacement surgeries in or around March 2011 and May 2011. Plaintiff also underwent a laminotomy and foraminotomy to her neck in or around January 2011.
"As a result of defendants' actions and her participation in the Tanezumab test-study, plaintiff has sustained a number of injuries and medical conditions, including but not limited to: osteonecrosis in both of plaintiff's hips resulting in total bilateral hip replacement surgeries, disk herniation in her neck resulting in a laminotomy and foraminotomy, right shoulder rotator cuff syndrome, advanced right elbow osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis in both hands, carpal tunnel syndrome, bilateral sensory-motor median neuropathies at the wrist, severe tricompartmental osteoarthritis in her right knee, degenerative changes to both knees, numbness extending from her shoulders to her fingers, and pain in her legs and ankles."
She seeks $999,000 in non-economic damages, economic damages to be proven at trial, and leave to amend her claim to seek punitive damages after discovery, on claims of product liability, negligence, medical negligence, and breach of warranty.
She is represented by Jeffrey Bowersox.