The bladder pain drug that can cause patients to go blind

For years, doctors across Kentucky have prescribed Elmiron to their patients suffering from interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS). Elmiron is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat this painful bladder condition and has been on the market since the 1990s. It is not a cure, so patients may have to take Elmiron for years to deal with the symptoms of PPS.

But recently, doctors have questioned if Elmiron is safe after research revealed that taking the drug can greatly increase the risk of blindness in patients. Specifically, research links Elmiron to maculopathy and similar disorders. Maculopathy can damage the retina and eventually cause the patient to lose their vision.

What victims of defective drugs can do in response

Under U.S. law, pharmaceutical companies owe the public a duty of due care to ensure their products are safe. Consumers rarely can tell if a medication they are taking is safe. They and their doctors must rely on drugmakers to properly test their products before releasing them to the public. When these companies do not take reasonable precautions, it is the public that pays the price. Products liability law gives victims of negligent drug developers, manufacturers and distributers the right to seek compensation for their injuries.

Often, victims of a defective product, like Elmiron is accused of being, have had similar experiences. They can join together in a class-action lawsuit against the businesses responsible. Class action litigation has several advantages. Instead of the cost of several hundred or thousand separate suits, the plaintiffs can mount a more powerful case against the defendants.

Drug companies that sell dangerous medications without proper warnings should have to compensate consumers for the harm they have suffered.