Transcript - 18 Fen-Phen Diet Drugs Litigation - Channel 2 News

Fen-Phen
Channel 2 News
September 22, 1997

25:35 - 27:35

Lester Holt: News 2 Chicago has learned the states first lawsuit against the makers of the diet drug Fen-phen and Redux will be filed tomorrow. The class action law suit is on behalf of twelve patients now facing the prospect of heart disease. About a half million people in Chicago took these drugs and it's been estimated that a third have heart valve damage. News 2 Chicago's Dr. Michael Breen talks with one woman who's living with the devastating effects of fen-phen.

Dr. Michael Breen: Roxann Rymek, you used to look like this and now she looks like this. She lost 68 pounds with the help of fen-phen but now she's paying a price. She has a leaky heart valve and no one knows if it will get worse.

Roxann Rymek: When you hear of leaky valve in somebody my age, it's really unheard of. It's just been really emotional here for all of us.

M. Breen: Roxann will be closely monitored. She'll get this procedure, an ultra sound of her heart, every three months. Roxann is the latest plaintiff in the state's first class action suit. The suit alleges the makers of Fen-phen and Redux knew as early as 1993 just how dangerous their products was.

Kenneth B. Moll: The incidence of adverse reactions is more than thirty times what was reported by these manufacturers.

M. Breen: The law suit requires the company to pay for the medical monitoring of patients like Roxann. It also asks for unspecified additional damages. The suit is open to any of the 6 million people who took these drugs because lawyers say any could one day pay a price.

K. Moll: We're talking about a potential, epidemic proportions.

R. Rymek: My kids need me to take care of them. They should of put better warnings on the drug.

M. Breen: So if you took these medications did you get a heart ultra sound? Well the verdict on that is mixed. Some experts say it is prudent to do that, but others say if all 6 million people who took these drugs get ultra sounds, there won't be any room left for anyone else. So Lester, a very complicated issue with the bottom line is one anybody who took these medications should discuss with their own physician.

L. Holt: Ok Mike, thank you.