Wrongful Deaths in Medical Trials

Attorney Blog

undefinedWhen a patient agrees to participate in a medical trial, she should not have to worry that she will sustain fatal injuries as a result of her participation. However, according to a recent article in Fortune Magazine, a drug trial for an Alnylam Pharmaceuticals medication has been shut down following the death of 18 participants. When a patient agrees to participate in a drug trial, what exactly does she agree to? And when a participant in a drug trial suffers fatal injuries as a result of her participation, can her survivors file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Learning More About Clinical Trials and Patient Participation

Before we get into the facts of the recent drug trials and the participant deaths, what should you know about clinical trials? According to a fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), clinical trials can take many different shapes, including those for new drugs aimed at treating current diseases. Specifically, the type of clinical trial in the Alnylam Pharmaceuticals case was a “treatment trial,” which is defined as a clinic trial to “test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.” As the NIH fact sheet clarifies, “the goal of [these] clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe.”

Yet clinical trials cannot simply expose patients to all sorts of unethical risks of harm. As the NIH explains, patients must first give informed consent to participating in the trial, and then most clinical trials must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The point of the IRB is to “ensure that the risks are minimal and are worth any potential benefits.”

Alnylam’s RNA Interference Technology and Revusiran

Now that you have a bit more knowledge about clinical trials, we should move onto the specific treatment trial at issue here. What was the drug being tested by Alnylam, and can family members of injured patients seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit? As a report from CNBC explains, the trial involved an “experimental therapy for a rare genetic condition that can cause heart failure.” The drug being tested is known as revusiran, and it involves a type of technology called RNA interference (or RNAi). This kind of technology “prevents genes from making their designated proteins.” In the instance of revusiran, drugmakers designed it to “target the gene involved in producing the abnormal protein which causes amyloidosis.”

Amyloidosis is a frequently under-diagnosed heart condition that can be fatal, and the American Heart Association estimates that it is only diagnosed in between six and ten Americans per million every year. Yet the current incarnation of the drug intended to treat the condition may be more harmful than the condition. More patients not taking the placebo died while they were participating in the study. As a result, safety monitors recommended that the drugmaker suspend the study.

Patient Deaths and Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Aurora

In some cases of patient death, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim. In Illinois, these lawsuits are governed by the Wrongful Death Act. Generally speaking, survivors must file a claim within one year of the date of the patient’s death. As such, it is important to reach out to an experienced Aurora wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices today to discuss your case.

Categories:

Thank you for a good service!!

Steve Sandler presented himself professionally with good rapport and showed concern for my well being. I will definitely recommend him to others!! Thank you!!

Sherifat O

This man knows what he is doing.

I can’t say enough about Jon Walker. He took my case after being denied. Told me everything I had to do and kept me calm during the wait and got me approved! If you want a professional lawyer who knows how to get you approved call WOODRUFF JOHNSON & EVANS I cannot thank you enough […]

Steve G

Far beyond what I expected!

Russ Haugen helped me far beyond what I expected. He was polite and communicated with me every step of the way. Thank you for everything!

Mikahl S

I really felt like I had an ally!

Jon Walker represented me in a Work Comp case. I really felt like I had an ally and someone who was going to protect me and my rights after I was injured at work. Jon was extremely attentive and available to me when I had questions or needed advice throughout the entire process. Also, Jon […]

Juli T

Recommendation to Blessing

I had a lawyer working on my insurance claim that was extremely unprofessional and after 8 months of getting nowhere, I fired him. Dexter Evans was recommended to me by a family member. He was extremely professional and made the insurance claim very easy for me. He was very informative and always got back to […]

Brooke D

I am forever Grateful for this Firm!

I am forever Grateful for this Firm. Steven Sandler stayed on top of my auto accident. I was kept informed on every thing. They were there for me and I will be sure to recommend them. Thank you!!!

Lisa R

¡Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados!

¡Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados! Mi abogado, Jay Johnson, me explicó el proceso para que entendiera lo que estaba sucediendo con mi caso. Estaba muy satisfecho con los resultados y recomendaría a mi familia y amigos que necesitan ayuda legal que vayan a Woodruff Johnson & Evans.

J.C.

He re-opened my case and got me a total knee replacement.

I was one of those guys that thought WC insurance would take care of me without legal representation. Then one day in the middle of being treated they closed my case without warning. When I questioned the WC insurance agent I caught her in a blatant lie and contacted Russell Haugen at my wife’s recommendation. […]

Jeff R.

I would recommend Jay to any one

Mr. Jay Johnson handle my case very fast. I would recommend him to any one. He kept in contact with me and kept me updated with every thing that was going on. Thank you again Woodruff Johnson and Evans for your help.

D. Fitts

Highly Recommended

Steve Sandler did an awesome job for me. His dogged determination resulted in an even better outcome than I expected. Plus, he’s super nice, accessible, and a good communicator. Highly recommended.

M. Charles
View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation