A construction worker and forklift operator from Ottumwa, Iowa has filed a federal lawsuit against Warner-Lambert claiming the drug Rezulin destroyed his liver and forced him to obtain a liver transplant.
The lawsuit is one of two that were filed on April 19. Both suits involve men from Iowa, a 39-year-old father of four, Jerry Houk and a 57-year-old Cedar Rapids man, Robert Foster, who still awaits a new liver.
Warner-Lambert removed Rezulin from the market on 21-March-2000, after three years of complaints regarding Rezulin's side effects. The drug was banned in England during the time the debate raged in the United States. The drug has now been linked to 90 cases of liver failure, 63 of which have resulted in death.
Jerry Houk became aware of Rezulin through a direct mail flier mailed to him in 1996. The drug appealed to Houk as a convenient alternative to the existing treatment his doctor had prescribed to him. Approximately nine months after starting Rezulin, Houk began experiencing what he considered to be flu-like symptoms. Shortly thereafter, Houk collapsed at a local shopping mall. He went to the emergency room and spent the next three weeks in the hospital. Houk suffered liver damage so severe he was immediately placed on a transplant list.
Houk's lawyer is Michael Hackard, a Sacramento attorney experienced in pharmaceutical liability litigation. Hackard has created a Web site, www.rezulininfo.com, describing Rezulin's history and the legal recourses for people suffering ill effects from the drug. If Hackard's Web site is any indication, more Rezulin-based litigation can be expected.