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Action star Chuck Norris, wife Gena, sue eleven organizations over gadolinium

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
Chuck and Gena Norris are taking 11 drug companies to court in a lawsuit claiming that gadolinium contrast during MR scans “nearly killed her.”

The companies in the crosshairs of the action star include McKesson and Bracco, according to Norris' attorneys Brooks Cutter and Todd Walburg of Cutter Law in California.

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“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,” they said in a statement.

Gena Norris alleges that after a series of MR scans she ended up developing Gadolinium Deposition Disease. This led to long-term health battle for the couple, including numerous hospitalizations that cost $2 million or more in out-of-pocket costs.

Her symptoms included cognitive impairment, body pain/burning, kidney damage, loss of energy/mobility, and difficulty breathing.

Five-years after her last gadolinium exposure she continues to require treatment, including controversial and unreimbursed chelation therapy, for the damage she suffers.

"My heart breaks for those who don't have the financial means they need," she said in mid-September, at which time there was an FDA panel meeting to address gadolinium safety. "We will continue to use our platform to raise awareness about the dangers of gadolinium," she added.

The suit is part of their effort to “raise awareness” about the condition, and alert potential recipients of the agents.

“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,” says Gena Norris. “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,” she added.

In mid-September, the FDA's Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee (MIDAC) voted to recommend revisions to the prescribing information for MR contrast agents with the material.

The vote was to add a warning that gadolinium can be retained in some organs and tissues.

According to a response to the meeting by Guerbet, “There are two kinds of gadolinium-based contrast agents [GBCAs], linear and macrocyclic. Although there are many similarities amongst these agents, they differ in their kinetic and thermodynamic stability. Linear GBCAs are generally less stable, and for this reason, more likely than macrocyclic agents to deposit gadolinium in tissue. Guerbet's GBCA, Dotarem [gadoterate meglumine] is a macrocyclic agent. The advisory would also state the risk of retention is slightly greater with linear agents versus macrocyclic ones.”
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