A drug manufacturer won Supreme Court review Friday of a $6.8 million verdict in the case of a woman whose arm had to be amputated after she was injected with one of its medications.
A jury in Vermont awarded the money to Diana Levine, who sued Wyeth after she was injected with its Phenergan nausea medication. The drug was inadvertently injected into an artery, which was seriously damaged. Doctors later amputated her arm, the AP reports.
Wyeth, formerly known as American Home Products (AHP), is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Corporate headquarters are in Madison, New Jersey, but its pharmaceutical division, which comprises the bulk of Wyeth's revenue and profits, is run out of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. They are known for manufacturing the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs Robitussin and the analgesic Advil (ibuprofen), as well as the prescription drugs Premarin and Effexor, which both boast over $3 billion in sales annually.
Promethazine is a first-generation H1 receptor antagonist antihistamine and antiemetic medication. It is a prescription drug in the United States, but is available over the counter in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and many other countries (brand names Phenergan, Promethegan, Romergan, Fargan, Farganesse, Prothiazine, Avomine, Atosil, RhinathioL).
Promethazine also has strong anticholinergic and sedative/hypnotic effects. Previously it was used as an antipsychotic, although it is generally not administered for this purpose now; promethazine has only approximately 1/10 of the antipsychotic strength of chlorpromazine.
Promethazine is sometimes used as a recreational drug in conjunction with Codeine in prescription cough syrup. The mixture of Sprite and cough syrup with codeine, which is known as "purple drank" or "Sizzurp", is popularized in the rap world, especially in the Houston area.[ It is also sometimes used to counteract nausea caused by illicit opioid use. Promethazine is referred to as "zazz" on Baltimore streets, as in "let's get zazzed".