A pharmaceutical giant is asserting the side affects and risks of a drug were understood by the user in a suit brought by a Jefferson County woman alleging the drug used to treat an enlarged prostate caused her husband’s death.
As previously reported, Patricia Gayle Kash filed a lawsuit Feb. 4 in Jefferson County District Court against drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.
GSK answered the suit on March 18, asserting a general denial, court records show.
The answer further asserts the risks were inherent and understood by the user taking the drug Avodart.
“Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the doctrine of informed consent,” the answer states
In her complaint, Patricia Kash alleges her husband, Thomas Gayle Kash, developed prostate cancer after he took Avodart to treat his enlarged prostate. The type of cancer Thomas Kash developed was considered a high-grade cancer, which is a more aggressive cancer than the low-grade type and is more likely to lead to death, according to the suit.
The suit alleges GlaxoSmithKline knew that Avodart was linked with a higher risk of high-grade cancer, but still promoted and marketed Avodart for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH.
Avodart is usually prescribed to people who have enlarged prostates. It works by stopping testosterone in the prostate from converting into dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone that enlarges the prostate.
A side effect of Avodart, however, is that it lowers the total serum prostate-specific antigen concentration in the serum. In healthy prostates, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) number is often low, but is elevated in those with low-grade prostate cancer, the complaint says. However, because the Avodart decreases the PSA levels, doctors often do not find cancer in Avodart users until it has reached high-grade status, Patricia Kash claims.
According to the complaint, Thomas Gayle Kash developed high-grade prostate cancer after taking Avodart and suffered serious bodily injury, mental and physical pain and suffering before his death in March 2011.
Patricia Kash, because of her husband’s death, lost his care, maintenance, support, services, advice and counsel and lost his affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, sexual relations, emotional support, love and felicity, the suit states.
Patricia Kash blames GlaxoSmithKline for causing her husband’s death, saying it failed to properly manufacture the drug, defectively designed the medication and failed to provide adequate warnings of the risks of the drug.
Patricia Kash seeks exemplary damages, plus a judgment in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.
B. Adam Terrell of Weller, Green, Toups and Terrell in Beaumont; Kevin Symons Laine of Beaumont; and Joshua Heinz of Benckenstein and Oxford in Beaumont represents her.
GSK is represented by Gene Williams, attorney for the Houston law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.
Case No. D193-889