Digitek Litigation Stayed Until October by MDL Judge

A federal judge has issued a temporary stay of the Digitek litigation pending in the MDL, halting all proceedings for 75 days in lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who claim to have suffered severe or fatal injuries after receiving too much of the heart drug prior to a recall issued in 2008.

In an August 12 order, Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, of the US. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, ordered a stay of the litigation until October 26, 2010. The stay affects all discovery, motion practices and any scheduled hearings.

Hundreds of Digitek lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the United States are currently consolidated and centralized before Judge Goodwin in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

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Judge Goodwin did not disclose why the stay of Digitek litigation was ordered, other than to indicate that it was for “reasons appearing to the court.” The first “bellwether” Digitek trial was previously scheduled to begin on January 31, 2011, but it is unclear whether the stay will delay that trial date.

Digitek is a generic version of the drug digoxin, used to treat congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms, atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation. The medication is extremely dose-specific with a narrow therapeutic index. If too little of drug is prescribed it can be ineffective, and if too much is prescribed it can lead to a Digitek overdose, where the drug builds up in the system. This can result in a serious and potentially life-threatening condition known as digitalis toxicity.

In April 2008, Actavis Totowa issued a Digitek recall for all lots of the heart drug after it was discovered that some tablets may have been commercially released that were twice as thick as they were supposed to be. The error potentially exposed thousands of users to a risk of digoxin overdose or poisoning.

According to a December 2008 report released by the non-profit Center for Public Justice, the FDA received reports of at least 667 Digitek overdose deaths tied to the recalled pills between April 2008 and June 2008.

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2 Comments

  • JodoisJanuary 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Darren, our case regarding our mother was almost identical to yours. My question is, WWEBD? (What Would Erin Brockovich Do?) Suspicious, indeed.

  • DarrenOctober 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

    My mother was prescribed digoxin by her doctor.On October 3 2007 she digested one pill per day as directed and on October 17th was admitted to a hospital suffering from symptoms related to digitalis toxicity(renal failure,abnormal heart rate,internal bleeding.)After 16 months and 6 days hospitalized my mom died.Medical records obtained by my lawyers support the claim that her death was the result [Show More]My mother was prescribed digoxin by her doctor.On October 3 2007 she digested one pill per day as directed and on October 17th was admitted to a hospital suffering from symptoms related to digitalis toxicity(renal failure,abnormal heart rate,internal bleeding.)After 16 months and 6 days hospitalized my mom died.Medical records obtained by my lawyers support the claim that her death was the result of digitalis toxicity.The amount of pills missing from her prescription was 14,the exact number of days she had been taking the pills as per directed. My lawyer sent me a letter dated September 22,2010 stating that a " Settlement Agreement "had been reached in the MDL.That I had to agree to this "settlement" or opt out of it.To opt out was "strongly"ill advised.The settlement according to the agreement would be in the range of $8.00 and $3,300. BEFORE attorney fees!! On October 12th 2010 I informed my lawyer that I was opting out.He basically told me that it would cost him(me)hundreds of thousand dollars to try to proof our case,that we had no chance of winning.He said that the recall of digoxin(recall letter I received in April 2008)was now considered in error.That studies suggest that no tainted pills made it to the public. He said the FDA website posted that info but I see nothing about it.I did however,see where the meeting of lawyers in Judge Goodwin's court slated for October 12 and 13 has been postponed. Hmmmmm.What the heck am I to think?I can't put what I think on here.

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