Mylan sued by woman's estate for overdose death

By Cara Bailey | Jun 26, 2008

CHARLESTON - A state pharmaceutical company is being sued by the estate of a woman who died after she was accidentally overdosed with a drug distributed by the company.

Bobbi Myers, the administratrix of the estate of Elizabeth Starr, filed the suit May 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court, against Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

According to the suit, Starr died May 5, 2008, after she was given twice the approved level of Digitek, a drug commonly used to treat various heart conditions.

Mylan distributes Digitek.

The suit says numerous consumers have been similarly injured, as Digitek was provided for sale with twice the approved level of the active ingredient.

"Digitek has a narrow therapeutic index, and thus, has a limited margin between effectiveness and toxicity," the suit says.

Starr, who suffered from irregular heartbeats, was prescribed Digitek. According to the suit, she suffered toxicity and died May 5, 2008.

In the six-count suit, Myers claims Starr suffered tremendous pain, suffering and mental anguish prior to her death. Myers seeks compensation, medical expenses and funeral expenses for Starr's estate.

"Patient safety has always been of utmost concern for us at Mylan," Michael B. Laffin, director of global public affairs for Mylan, told The Record. "We have been working with the FDA to ensure that our customers are aware of Actavis Totowa's recall of Digitek.

"Digitek is manufactured by Actavis and distributed by Mylan. Actavis, as the manufacturer, initiated the recall, and our expectation is that Actavis is responsible for all costs associated with it, including litigation costs. Digitek represents a very small portion of Mylan's global product portfolio."

Attorney Tony O'Dell is representing Myers. The case has been assigned to Judge Charlie King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-999

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