Via America’s Lawyer: Attorney Brandon Bogle joins Mike Papantonio to explain how a popular injection treatment for macular degeneration called Beovu is actually causing permanent vision loss and blindness in many of its recipients. In yet another example of the FDA’s oversight, Novartis’s drug has put thousands of elderly patients at risk.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Earlier this year, vision experts began warning doctors about the dangers of Beovu. It’s a drug intended to treat vision loss that’s actually causing some patients to go completely blind. I have attorney Brandon Bogle with me now, an attorney who’s had extraordinary experience with very complex cases like this. I’m glad you’re working this case. Give us a rundown, give us a 10,000 foot before we talk about details here.

Brandon Bogle:                   Yeah, so this is a drug that’s manufactured by Novartis. It’s actually a pretty new drug on the market. It’s been out for less than two years, but pretty quickly after it was made available in the United States, there were a significant number of patients who were taking the drug by injection and pretty immediately suffering partial or complete vision loss that now experts in the field have very strongly tied to the use of this drug.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So a patient goes, and first of all, there are many alternatives aren’t there. They don’t even have to use this drug. This drug does not even have to be on the market, right?

Brandon Bogle:                   That’s absolutely correct.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s a moneymaker. So Novartis is saying, let’s jump into that. Other people are making money on it. Me too. I want to make, I want to make some money on this too. How extensive is this condition in a person uses Beovu, which is an injection, isn’t it?

Brandon Bogle:                   It is, it’s an injection you get in your, in your doctor’s office. Usually an ophthalmologist will give it to you in their office.

Mike Papantonio:             Do they inject it directly into the eye?

Brandon Bogle:                   They do, yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. And so how often does that take place?

Brandon Bogle:                   It’s, it’s something that you have to get periodically over a period of months, but usually you come in every month or so and get an injection.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. And so from a physiological standpoint, what we’re seeing is we’re seeing what we call miniature eye strokes, right?

Brandon Bogle:                   Correct.

Mike Papantonio:             You’re having blood vessels that are exploding in the back, Beovu’s creating some unusual protein as I understand it.

Brandon Bogle:                   Right.

Mike Papantonio:             The protein is, is affecting the ocular system in the back of the eye, right?

Brandon Bogle:                   That’s right. Yeah. You get a blood clot in the back of your eye and you pretty immediately cannot see, which has gotta be a very startling thing to go through.

Mike Papantonio:             Is it reversible once we get away from Beovu, is it reversible once you do that macular damage?

Brandon Bogle:                   Unfortunately, generally, no, it is not. The patients are stuck with the loss of vision that they experienced following the clot in the eye itself.

Mike Papantonio:             What type of patient is more at risk here? I mean, who goes to use Beovu to begin with?

Brandon Bogle:                   Yeah. So it’s treats age-related macular degeneration, which typically occurs in patients 50 years old or older. So that’s the population that’s going to be taking the drug and that condition itself causes a very slow deterioration of eyesight. But what unfortunately we see with this drug is it causes a rapid onset of oftentimes complete blindness.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm. Okay. Now let me get this right. Because we hear the same thing every time. FDA did nothing.

Brandon Bogle:                   Correct.

Mike Papantonio:             We think FDA does testing, they don’t. If Novartis, if, if, if Novartis phonied up the clinical data, we won’t know until you take those depositions. Did they have, did they have clinical data that should have shown them that this has the ability to cause absolute total blindness? That’s what you’re going to find out.

Brandon Bogle:                   Right. And, and what we already are seeing, and just very early on in this process is they did do exactly that. They phonied up the clinical data to mask what was warning signs in the clinical trials that this drug can cause those blood clots in the eyes that acutely again, cause sometimes complete vision loss. The data was definitely there. They masked the data and that’s just what we know so far. Once we get into the internal documents, as things always happen with cases like this, they only get worse.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So as we, as, as we work through this, we’re going to see the same thing. We’re going to see the FDA trying to defend themselves for being idiots, for being a dysfunctional idiotic agency that never really looks over anybody’s shoulder. We’re going to see Novartis saying, oh gee, we didn’t know. The clinicals are going to say yes, you did know. And in the process, we’re going to have people going blind, not even understanding the relationship between why they’re going blind and the fact that they’re taking this medication. This is a pro, this is a project I really recommend that you get out in a big way, an advertising campaign to let people know this because you can stop it right now. There are, there are alternatives.

Brandon Bogle:                   Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             Brandon you’ve, you’ve, you’ve gotten extraordinary results in other cases, I hope you’ll take this one just as serious and save some of these people because I mean, what an awful thing, you know, to, to wake up one day and you’re blind and not even understand what happened.

Brandon Bogle:                   I think we’re going to find that the, the detailers had to aggressively market this, because again, this was a me too drug. And the only thing they could really say about this drug is you have to get fewer injections over time. But again, what they did not tell and what I think is going to be very clear that they hid is the risk of these eye injuries that you just do not see with the other available therapies here.

Mike Papantonio:             Mm. Okay. Brandon, as you go forward, your depositions are going to tell the story aren’t they?

Brandon Bogle:                   They are.

Mike Papantonio:             What do you usually, what do you usually see? You see, it starts at the top, don’t you, and the top holds this secret for a long time, as they do whatever they do with their stock. When things start going bad, the CEO that was in charge of that project moves on, takes all his money and another CEO moves in. How many times have you seen that in this business?

Brandon Bogle:                   More times than I can count.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Brandon Bogle. Thank you for joining me. Please be aggressive, go after these guys. Okay.

Brandon Bogle:                   Will do. Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             Thank you for joining me.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.