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Biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc. said Wednesday it is laying off 13 percent of its work force, or 650 employees, in a restructuring and cost-cutting move.
Biogen, based in Weston, Mass., said it will have 4,275 employees after the cuts, which include exiting development of cancer treatments and cardiovascular drugs. The company said it will focus on neurology and leverage its strengths in biologics research and development and manufacturing to pursue select biotechnology-based therapies.
The company sells multiple sclerosis drugs Tysabri and Avonex and cancer drug Rituxan.
There is a law firm now pursuing legal action against Biogen Idec and Elan for patients diagnosed with PML
National Pharmaceutical Law Firm Investigates Legal Action Against Biogen Idec and Elan, Makers of Tysabri
Blizzard, McCarthy & Nabers take on dangerous MS Drug Tysabri linked to PML
Houston, TX – Blizzard, McCarthy & Nabers, LLC, one of the nation's leading pharmaceutical litigation firms, is investigating legal action against Biogen Idec and Elan, the makers of the dangerous drug Tysabri (natalizumab), a medication used to treat multiple sclerosis patients.
On behalf of an Indiana-based client, the firm is investigating legal recourse for patients diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) after taking Tysabri.
PML, a debilitating and sometimes fatal neurological condition, destroys the myelin sheath covering the axons of nerve cells and impairs the transmission of nerve impulses, often leading to severe disability or death. Patients experience vision loss, impaired speech, paralysis and cognitive deterioration.
Tysabri was fast-track approved by the FDA in 2004, but withdrawn from the market after being linked to PML in 2005. The drug was reintroduced in 2006 with a black box warning for PML, but the number of Tysabri-treated patients contracting PML continues to rise. To date, 70 Tysabri-treated patients have contracted PML; 14 have died and dozens more are severely disabled.
"When you consider that Tysabri causes PML which results in either death or severe brain damage, and that the risk of contracting PML increases each month that a patient takes the drug, it is difficult to understand why the FDA allows it to remain on the market," said Blizzard. “We will continue to investigate and may seek justice on behalf of these suffering patients.”
The FDA warning notes that the risk of developing PML increases over time, although Biogen seriously minimized those risks in its marketing materials. The company’s questionable marketing practice led to a warning letter from the FDA earlier this year.
Patients taking Tysabri who develop the debilitating symptoms of PML may consider legal action against the pharmaceutical company and should contact Blizzard, McCarthy & Nabers for more information. MS patients should also know that there are safe, effective alternatives to Tysabri on the market.
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