Lawsuit claims fatal medication was given to 10 patients

Manufacturer of the anti-psychotic drug in question allegedly knew the risks involved with the medication

Lawsuit claims fatal medication was given to 10 patients

Life & Health

By Lyle Adriano

A federal suit claims that a fatal combination of methadone and an anti-psychotic medication may have led to the demise of 10 patients at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) clinics.

The suit also alleges that AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, knew for years that the medical cocktail could induce an abnormal heart rhythm, but did not warn the public until 2010.

Staten Island Advance reported that Allison Zayas, a former sales representative of the pharmaceutical company from New York, is suing AstraZeneca on behalf of the US government and 27 states.

Notably, SIUH was not named as a defendant in the suit.

In 2009, 10 patients on methadone unexpectedly passed away at SIUH clinics. According to the federal court filing, “the one common denominator for these deaths” was the use of Seroquel, the trade name of the drug quetiapine.

The suit also claimed that at least three SIUH physicians believed Seroquel “played a role” in the casualties.

The hospital, however, has disputed the claims.

“The patient cases referred to by whistleblower date back more than seven years. There were no definitive findings that the deaths mentioned in the whistleblower complaint were caused by a combination of Seroquel and methadone,” Northwell Health chief public relations officer Terry Lynam told Staten Island Advance.

“As for the three clinicians who are mentioned in the complaint, they were never involved in the care of addiction patients,” Lynam added. “It’s important to keep in mind that the allegations contained in the lawsuit are not based on validated testimony or court evidence.”

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