Struggling to Speak
Viola is a retired middle school secretary who spent her life caring for children and her family. She enjoyed traveling with her husband, caring for her son and attending her local church. Viola also cared for the children and families she served at work answering the school phone, speaking with parents, distributing medicine to students and being a rock in her community.
Some years ago, Viola started experiencing constant stomach aches and nausea. She took a generic form of Reglan. She took this drug for six years hoping to get better. Instead, Viola began experiencing serious side effects. Her legs would involuntarily jerk, even while she was sleeping. Her facial muscles and eventually her tongue followed suit. Viola no longer attends church because her mouth and legs make so much noise involuntarily that she worries about disturbing those around her.
Worse still, her relationship with her family has been impacted. Sadly, Viola cannot even pronounce her son’s name. “To be a mother and to be unable to say your own child’s name is hard," Viola said. "You want to be able to just speak and not have this funny sound come out of your mouth. You want to be able to interact with people.”
She faces a daily struggle to speak to her own family and to enjoy the aspects of life so many take for granted. Viola’s justice was denied because she took a generic drug instead of the brand name. How much longer can we allow the makers of generic drugs to evade their responsibilities?
If no one is accountable, no one is safe.
NBC's Today Show also featured Viola's story in a November 2013 sgement on the dangers of generic drugs and accountability.