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Federal jury places a high price tag on two torn Achilles tendons after man takes J&J’s antibiotic Levaquin

Last Wednesday, December 8, 2010, a jury of twelve in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis awarded $1.73 million – $630,000 in compensatory damages and $1.1 million in punitive damages – to Plaintiff John Schedin, an 82-year-old man who experienced ruptures in both Achilles tendons after taking Levaquin in combination with a steroid for bronchitis five years ago. Neither Mr. Schedin nor his physicians knew that the combination was associated with tendon damage and after three days of taking the antibiotic, Mr. Schedin ruptured both Achilles tendons.

In July of 2008, the FDA issued a health alert regarding Levaquin and other similar antibiotics. The FDA required Johnson & Johnson, and other manufacturers, to carry a Black Box Warning – the agency’s strictest warning – on their popular antibiotics, including Levaquin, to inform patients of the risk of tendon rupture.

John Schedin was the first trial out of thousands of cases filed nationwide by patients claiming that Levaquin caused their of tendon injuries.

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s article, one juror commented on J&J’s failure to warn: "we talked a lot about the responsibility the company had to the general public as far as safety goes. We felt that they didn’t warn adequately, that they didn’t use enough means of warning the public, especially the doctors."

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