“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore” was one of the most famous quotes from the blockbuster Academy Award winning film and No. 66 on the AFI’s 100 Movies list, “Network” (1976).
That describes our exact feelings, and why Gena and I are simultaneously suing 11 Big Pharma companies.
You would too if you had endured the years of suffering that my wife, Gena, has as a result of multiple routine MRIs, during which gadolinium contrast dye (used to make images clearer) was injected into her body. She had three scans within eight days less than five years ago to assess her rheumatoid arthritis.
Those multiple MRIs yielded little about her arthritis, but they did give her gadolinium poisoning that nearly took her life, and then chronically led to gadolinium deposition disease. The following years have been riddled with debilitating bouts of pain and anguish, as we have literally traveled the globe in pursuit of alternative medicine that may help her recover. She has suffered long-term health implications requiring multiple hospitalizations.
Gena has experienced cognitive impairment, body pain/burning, kidney damage, loss of energy/mobility, muscle cramping and weakness and difficulty breathing, to name a few health issues. Now, almost five years post-gadolinium poisoning, she continues to require regular stem cell therapies and other treatments to heal her central nervous system.
We’ve spent almost $2 million in out-of-pocket medical expenses to save her and provide some quality of life. But we had to go outside of mainstream medicine to accomplish this. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has still not approved the most common gadolinium removal treatment, chelation, which patients must seek out and pay for themselves.
We are fortunate that we have the resources to treat Gena, but millions are not so fortunate, like Marcie Jacobs, “a fighter maybe better than Bruce Lee” who recently died from a massive heart attack due to – we believe – her gadolinium deposition disease. She led the way in exposing this deadly medical cover up, and died a martyr while battling the cause. We told her family that we’d pick up her torch with others. That is why we are risking it all to fight for them, too.
Big Pharma and the FDA have told millions upon millions of MRI recipients that gadolinium-based contrast agents, or GBCAs, are harmless and flush quickly out of the human body. But nothing could be further from the truth.
More and more doctors, scientists and other health-care professionals are coming forward to discuss the dangers of residual GBCAs. Many whistleblowers have trumpeted across the country and around the world, but they have been muffled by a culture of dodge and deny.
In order to stop the continuation of this insane injection malpractice from crippling one more patient, we are unleashing our legal team on 11 Big Pharma companies that produce and distribute the drug. We are represented by attorneys Brooks Cutter and Todd Walburg of Cutter Law in California. Our hope and goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of gadolinium retention in the body, while educating patients about the lack of warnings currently in place for gadolinium-based contrast agents. Cutter Law filed the first gadolinium deposition disease lawsuit in 2016.
“Unfortunately, litigation is the only course of action we can take to hold the drug companies accountable for threatening the lives of so many innocent people who undergo MRIs,” Gena said in a press release last week. “These companies continue to say that there is no link between gadolinium and adverse events, even though the evidence is overwhelming that this heavy metal stays in the body for years, rather than hours.”
In Europe, several of the most common linear GBCAs have been banned. But the FDA just can’t come to those reasonable steps and precautions because hundreds of millions have already been injected with them, and the agency and Big Pharma fear the greatest legal whiplash in history.
In response to our litigation, some in the mainstream media, like CBS, rushed to back the FDA, saying things like, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in May it found no evidence that retained gadolinium was harmful.” But they are not telling you the whole story.
As “Full Measure” reported, internal scientific documents from the FDA that are more than a decade old reveal the agency has known about the potential adverse affects of GBCAs for a long time, but it did little to nothing to warn the general public.
That data concluded that, starting in 2006, there was a “strong association between gadolinium contrast agents and NSF [nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a deadly man-made disease].”
In 2007, the FDA issued a “black box warning” to those with weak kidneys to avoid GBCAs at all costs.
In 2015, the FDA issued another warning that GBCAs could linger in the bodies of those without kidney problems, from their bones and brains to other vital organs.
And in September of this year, the FDA announced that it will require additional warnings for gadolinium-based contrast agents to alert patients to gadolinium retention in the human body, including in organs and the brain. Unfortunately, the warnings will be only on labels of the drug, and most patients will never see them!
In raising awareness, what we have come to recognize is that most have never heard of the heavy metal gadolinium, much less know that it is highly toxic to the human body in its free form. Due to the lack of proper information, there has not been a connection between the contrast dyes used in MRIs, what those dyes really contain, and the risks associated with the heavy metal itself.
A good analogy that everyone understands is the Flint water crisis, during which toxic levels of the heavy metal lead were ingested by people through the public water source and led to severe health issues. It is no different than the damage the heavy metal gadolinium in its free form can do once inside our bodies.
Friends, we must sound the alarm and voice our concerns today to the FDA, the World Health Organization and every medical community, including your local ones. Please join our growing army, take the following steps, and sign the petition here:
- Share this column – and others I’ll write on the issue – on your social media.
- Encourage others to watch Gena and my “Full Measure” interview.
- Warn physicians and patients about the risks of gadolinium. Make sure physicians are properly informing patients about its dangers.
- Suspend the use of all linear GBCA, and restrict macrocyclic GBCAs to much smaller and infrequent doses, and use only in cases where the benefits far outweigh the risks, like in matters of life and death or the most serious of health issues.
- Invest in rapid development of new-generation MRI machines that don’t require contrast dyes or at least offer safe gadolinium alternatives.
- Sponsor large, independent studies of gadolinium toxicity in patients who have undergone MRI scans.
- Fast-track the development and approval of effective treatments to remove toxic gadolinium from patients affected by it.
- Fast-track regulations requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of new effective treatments for gadolinium poisoning, NSF, gadolinium deposition disease and gadolinium storage disease.
As Medscape.com recommends, report any problems with GBCAs by contacting MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program, via telephone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, online, with postage-paid FDA form 3500 or by mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20852-9787.