A Preventable Death | The American Association For Justice Archive

A Preventable Death

Jared Saylor
Monday, December 5, 2016

Kira "Nikki" Gilbert was 22 years old and recently graduated from college. In 2009, she was working at a local orphanage and was planning to go to nursing school. Her biggest health problem was a torn ACL, not exactly a life-threatening condition. Her doctor prescribed her propoxyphene, the generic form of the painkiller Darvon, while she awaited ACL surgery.

Kira died just a few days after she started taking the drug.

Her grieving parents wanted to know what happened and why their precious daughter died so suddenly. They soon discovered that thousands of others had died after taking propoxyphene in the years prior to their daughter’s death. But inadequate safety warnings on the labels meant that despite the risks of taking this drug, doctors continued to prescribe it to unsuspecting patients. 

Kira’s parents sought to hold the drug maker accountable in court, but were stopped short. A Supreme Court ruling in 2011 created a huge safety loophole, finding that generic drug manufacturers cannot be taken to court for failing to warn consumers of risks.

But in 2013, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule that would fix the problem by allowing the generic drugmakers to promptly update their safety warnings in response to new dangers. And if the drugmakers did not do so, the families harmed by the drugs could hold them accountable in court.

The American Association for Justice produced "A Preventable Death," a short video about Kira and her parents, to demonstrate the need for the FDA to finally close this drug safety loophole and provide access to justice for anyone harmed by dangerous products.

AAJ fights every day for the rights of people like Kira and her family. To learn how you can join us in the fight, visit www.justice.org/jointoday. If you have any questions about AAJ membership, please email membership@justice.org or call 800-424-2727.