For more than a decade, Preston Hollow resident and lawyer Kip Petroff fought against a seemingly unbeatable Goliath — the corporate giant responsible for distributing the dangerous weight-loss drug Fen-Phen.
“This is a classic example of the Food and Drug Administration being bamboozled by the drug companies,” Petroff says. In his sworn deposition testimony, retired FDA medical officer Dr. Leo Lutwak stated, “… the only way anything can be done to prevent this from happening again is by exposing it.”
That’s why Petroff wrote the book, “Battling Goliath: Inside a $22 Billion Legal Scandal,” chronicling his experience with the case that resulted in a nationwide settlement. Petroff offers an inside look at how Fen-Phen made it to the market and the corruption that ensued as its maker, Wyeth, worked to cover up the drug’s lethal side effects. The book reaches an audience far beyond the legal community, Petroff says.
“Fifty-two percent of people in America take prescription drugs. Six million people took Fen-Phen. And the rate of injury is increasing. It’s astonishing how many people are taking prescription drugs to counteract the side effects from another prescription drug. People need to be careful about what they’re taking.”
Petroff also examines the toll that the Fen-Phen case took on his personal life. Wyeth threatened to sue him for racketeering, which could have ruined him.
“Hardball became very hardball,” he says. Amid the stress, Petroff descended into alcoholism. In 2007, he decided to quit drinking. The very same day, the Fen-Phen case was settled.
“I believe if you read the book, you’ll find that the Goliath I was fighting might not be the Goliath you would expect.”
• Kip Petroff is senior partner of the Dallas firm Petroff & Associates. “Battling Goliath: Inside a $22 Billion Legal Scandal” is available online at battlinggoliath.com.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.