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Leukemia clinical trial halted after drug deaths

Boston readers may want to know that the pharmaceutical company Celgene stated on July 18th that it will halt a clinical trial for the leukemia drug lenalidomide, brand name, Revlimid. The decision came after early statistical analysis revealed a disproportionate number of deaths in the group treated with the drug as compared with another group being treated with another drug, chlorambucil. Of the 210 patients receiving lenalidomide, 34 died during the trial. In comparison, only 18 deaths were reported out of 211 patients taking chlorambucil.

Lenalidomide is a derivative of thalidomide, a drug that is known to cause birth defects. It was approved in the U.S. in 2006 for the treatment of multiple myeloma at a cost of more than $160,000 a year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed the trial on hold on July 12.

The drug was being tested for chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients over the age of 65 with other health conditions that prevented them from taking more aggressive chemotherapy medications. Some of these conditions include congestive heart failure, kidney impairment and diabetes. Medication errors or complications may cause illness or death.

Family members who have lost a loved one as the result of a medication error may be entitled to financial compensation for their loss. Compensation may be awarded to pay for medical care, funeral expenses, lost income and emotional pain. An experienced Boston medical malpractice attorney may be able to advise individuals seeking compensation for the death of a loved one due to a medical error. An attorney may even be able to negotiate a fair settlement from insurance providers and may be able to represent their client in court if necessary.

Source: Medical Daily, "Celgene Stops Leukemia Clinical Trial After Deaths From Drug Lenalidomide", Jonathan Weiss PH.D, July 18, 2013

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