Five people who claim they had significant physical side effects from the antibiotic Levaquin are suing Margaret Hamburg, who was Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2009 to 2015. They allege a conspiracy between Hamburg, Johnson & Johnson, and Hamburg’s husband Peter Brown, who at the time was co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies L.L.C., a hedge fund with a significant stake in Johnson & Johnson.
The claim alleges that Hamburg, Brown, and Johnson & Johnson “willfully covered up and/or failed to warn the public” of Levaquin’s dangers, because if the information had gotten out, “her and her husband’s financial gain and net worth would have plummeted.” The Daily Caller said that Yahoo financial data indicates that Johnson and Johnson’s stock went up a lot while Hamburg was in office.
Hamburg’s attorney told the Daily Caller, “There is no factual or legal basis for the lawsuit [the plaintiffs’ attorney] has filed, and we are confident the court will dismiss his claims in their entirety.”
The complaint claims that the FDA failed to enforce sufficient warning labels on Levaquin despite evidence that use of the drug was linked to conditions such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The claim goes on to say that Hamburg appointed Johnson & Johnson officials to FDA positions and colluded with the company “to suppress information about the dangerous and deadly effects of Levaquin,” resulting in the deaths of an estimate of more than 5,000 people.
An FDA representative told LawNewz.com, “there is a citizen petition pending with the agency at the moment that requests that FDA require changes in the professional labeling of Levaquin.” The rep was not able to comment further, as the agency does not discuss the specifics of ongoing matters.