Letter to the Editor: Coleman should help affected Levaquin patients

BY JOHN FRATTI

Published March 4, 2012

University President Mary Sue Coleman,

In addition to being the University president, you are also a board director at Johnson & Johnson. I have been disabled for over six years from Levaquin, an antibiotic marketed by your company. My family sent medical documentation on Levaquin to you. We asked that you initiate medical research in an effort to help those of us that are suffering. We never heard back from you.

The beginning sentence of the famous J&J Credo states the following: “We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services.” The credo also states the following: “We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.”

As a board director at Johnson & Johnson, I feel that you have an ethical and moral responsibility to honor the credo. You have profited at the expense of many people that have suffered devastating long-term injuries from Levaquin. Those severely affected by Levaquin have often lost not only their health but also their job and income. Many have been bankrupted with enormous medical bills. Individuals and families have been devastated physically, emotionally and financially. Jenne Wilcox, a young school teacher lost her job and her home after taking Levaquin. Over three years later, she requires a wheelchair. Her story can be viewed on a national PBS news segment. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration Freedom of Information Report for Levaquin reveals that 20,243 Individual Safety Reports are listed for this drug from November 1, 1997 to May 31, 2011.

I made a difficult trip to your company shareholder meeting. I gave a respectful speech to you and the other board directors. The phrase “Caring for the World, One Patient at a Time” was mentioned numerous times by your company. Mary Sue Coleman: You have an opportunity to show leadership by honoring the values of your corporate credo, into a commitment to help those that have suffered immensely from your prescription drug.

John Fratti