Parents of Abortion Drug Victim Files Suit

The parents of Holly Patterson, a teen who died in 2003 after taking the abortion drug RU-486, filed a lawsuit last Friday against the drug’s maker and health care providers.

Monty and Deborah Patterson filed suit in the Alameda County Superior Court, contending that Danco Laboratories, the drug’s provider, failed to warn doctors about some of the potential dangers of Mifeprex, reported the Associated Press. The complaint claiming wrongful death and product liability also names Population Council, which sponsored the development of mifepristone; Planned Parenthood Golden Gate; and ValleyCare Health System as defendants.

“This is a well-deserved lawsuit against those allegedly responsible for a young woman's tragic death,” said Wendy Wright, senior policy director of Concerned Women for America, which filed a Citizen Petition two years ago with the Food & Drug Administration to immediately revoke the drug RU-486 based on evidence the drug violated FDA’s regulations.

Other organizations such as the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Christian Medical Association also joined CWA in filing the Citizen Petition.

“Holly Patterson paid the ultimate price for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) buckling to abortion proponents’ pressure to approve a drug that has only one purpose – to kill a human being,” continued Wright in a press release.

“Population Council conducted substandard, biased trials on RU-486, Danco knowingly distributes it to abortionists that violate the requirements, and Planned Parenthood treats women like Holly as collateral damage in their pursuit of more abortions,” said Wright, explaining the charges.

RU-486, also known as Mifepristone, is sold under the brand name Mifeprex after it was approved by the FDA in 2000. The safety of the drug was called under question after Holly Patterson’s death in September 2003. Recently, the deaths of two other women have also been linked to Mifeprex. Patterson had died from septic shock, caused by inflammation of the membrane of the uterus, according to the Associated Press.

In mid-November, FDA announced a newly revised label for the drug which already carried the FDA’s highest warning. The new label warns users of possible dangerous side effects such as bacterial infection, sepsis, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies that have ruptured, bleeding, and death.

But Danco's marketing and public affairs director, Cynthia Summers still holds that ``no causal relationship between the use of the Mifeprex regimen and the unfortunate death of Ms. Patterson has been established” in an e-mail to the Mercury News on Monday.

“The recent revelations of the FDA’s negligence with other drugs corroborates what Concerned Women for America already exposed about the agency’s treatment of RU-486,” said Wright, referring to FDA’s recent warnings on Celebrex and the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market after studies showed both, which belong popular class of anti-inflammatory drugs, can increase the risk for heart disease and strokes.

She added, “One difference, however, is the role that abortion enthusiasts played in demanding that access to RU-486 take precedence over women’s health.

“Holly Patterson is not the only young woman who has suffered from the abortion industry’s callousness. We hope that the Pattersons’ boldness will encourage other family members of RU-486 victims to come forward and hold accountable those responsible for the injuries of their loved ones.”

Republican legislators plan to reintroduce a bill to suspend the abortion drug RU-486 pending a six-month investigation by the Government Accountability Office on the process used to approve the drug.