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A chemical used in MRI scans to detect abnormalities nearly killed Gena Norris, wife of action star Chuck Norris, the couple allege in a newly filed California complaint against McKesson Corp. and others.
Gena Norris received toxic doses of the gadolinium-based contrast agents during MRIs, the lawsuit in California Superior Court, San Francisco County, alleges ( Norris v. McKesson Corp. , Cal. Super. Ct., No. CGC-17-562228, filed 11/1/17 ).
The couple seeks $10 million in damages from defendants include distributor McKesson Corp. and manufacturer Bracco SpA’s diagnostic and imaging unit.
McKesson said it is reviewing the complaint. Bracco defended the safety of its products in a statement posted on its website.
Gena Norris suffers from debilitating pain and kidney disease among other long-term injuries due to gadolinium deposition disease (GDD) after receiving intravenous injections of the brand name agents ProHance and MultiHance, the lawsuit said.
The couple spent more than $2 million on treatments after Gena’s injuries, which also prevented Chuck Norris from seeking lucrative acting jobs, the filing said.
Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) use the heavy metal to help radiologists see abnormalities on images of the central nervous system, the part of the body that contains the brain and spine, and surrounding tissues.
“GDD is a man-made disease. It only occurs in patients who have received gadolinium-based contrast agent for an MRI or MRA,” the lawsuit said.
The companies failed to warn the public about potential significant risks of the products, plaintiffs said.
San Francisco-based McKesson “is aware of the lawsuit and is currently reviewing the complaint. We will respond in a timely matter,” the company said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg Law.
“Bracco is dedicated to providing imaging products and services that are safe, reliable and effective for patients,” that company said in a statement on its website.
Also named as a defendant was manufacturer Takeda GmbH, which couldn’t be reached for comment Oct. 2.
The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t identified adverse health effects from the gadolinium-based contrast agents, the agency said in a May safety announcement.
FDA’s Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee continues to meet to discuss the potential risk of gadolinium retention in the brain and other organs in patients receiving the contrast agents for MRIs.
Previously, some patients with impaired kidney function alleged that gadolinium contrast agents caused them to develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.
Patients with that disease develop large areas of hardened skin and joint contractures that cause pain and limited range of motion.
Hundreds of those earlier suits settled.
Cutter Law, PC, represents the plaintiffs.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at JCutler@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at email@example.com
The case is at http://src.bna.com/tWt.
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