Four Pharmaceutical executives are scheduled to stand before a judge in Philadelphia this Monday regarding their part in a wrongful death case that claimed the life of three elderly victims between the years of 2003 and 2004. Michael D. Huggins, Thomas B. Higgins, Richard E. Bohner, and John J. Wash, formers executives of Synthes Inc. have been charged with violating a “responsible corporate officer doctrine” after having knowingly promoted the use of a potentially dangerous product.
Synthes Inc., who operates out of West Chester, PA, is a medical device company whose corporate operations are headed up overseas in Switzerland. A subsidiary of the firm began producing the bone cements SRS and XR, which were created to fill the gaps in the vertebrae of millions of older people, in the early 2000’s with the hopes of selling it to hospitals worldwide.
Synthes actually began testing the products in hospitals during a specific back procedure without prior approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human trial. The court found that patients were directly and proximately harmed by the conduct of the defendants and others at Synthes after they exposed patients to SRS and XR without their full informed consent without the FDA’s authorization. Three elderly patients died after exposure to the compounds. Although patient autopsies could not definitively confirm that SRS and XR compounds caused the deaths, they did reveal that all patients suffered a serious drop in blood pressure moments after the bone cement was injected into their vertebrae.
Each of the defendants has pleaded guilty and hopes for nothing more than probation but could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and $100,000 each in fines. The case is scheduled to be heard by Philadelphia Judge Lagrome D. Davis next week. If you live in the Philadelphia area or anywhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, contact expert injury lawyer Edith A. Pearce, Esquire if you or your loved one has been injured in a products liability or medical malpractice case.