Man unsure of the safety of his medicine

Breaking news and expert analysis on legal and compliance issues

[Back To Home][Back To Archives]

From Products Liability Law Daily, May 10, 2013

Jury Verdict of $2.2 Million Entered Against Maker of Humira

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

A jury in Cook County, Illinois, entered a verdict in the amount of $2,244,063.20 in favor of a patient who developed disseminated histoplasmosis, a severe, life threatening infection as a result of ingesting the drug, as prescribed, to treat rheumatoid arthritis. (Tietz v. Abbott Labs, May 9, 2013, Haddad, W.). The jury determined that the manufacturer was negligent for not taking reasonable measures to make sure that physicians were informed of the risks of histoplasmosis associated with the drug.

Background. According to a press release issued by the firm representing the plaintiffs, Delores Tietz had been prescribed Humira, a TNF blocker manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, to treat her rheumatoid arthritis. She took the drug for almost seven months when she began to experiencing chest pains and fevers. Her illness went undiagnosed for weeks and she nearly died. Finally her doctors diagnosed her with Humira-induced disseminated histoplasmosis.

Duty to warn. According to the press release, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert in September 2008 to all manufacturers of TNF blockers, including Abbott Laboratories, to provide new information to the medical community about the risks of unrecognized, drug-induced histoplasmosis. Abbott failed to send a letter directly to physicians warning of the danger until May 17, 2010, 20 months after the initial FDA alert and 10 days after Mrs. Tietz was hospitalized. The jury found that Abbott’s failure to take reasonable measures to alert physicians to the risk of its TNF blocker constituted negligence. This verdict represents the first Humira lawsuit against Abbott to go trial.

The case number is: 12 L 2715.

Attorneys: Jim M. Perdue, Jr. (Perdue Kidd & Vickery) for The Tietzes; Kirkland & Ellis Llp for Abbott Labs.

Companies: Abbott Labs

MainStory: TopStory WarningsNews DrugsNews IllinoisNews

Products Liability Law Daily

Introducing Wolters Kluwer Products Liability Law Daily — a daily reporting service created by attorneys, for attorneys — providing same-day coverage of breaking news, court decisions, legislation, and regulatory activity.

A complete daily report of the news that affects your world

  • View full summaries of federal and state court decisions.
  • Access full text of legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Customize your daily email by topic and/or jurisdiction.
  • Search archives for stories of interest.

Not just news — the right news

  • Get expert analysis written by subject matter specialists—created by attorneys for attorneys.
  • Track law firms and organizations in the headlines with our new “Who’s in the News” feature.
  • Promote your firm with our new reprint policy.

24/7 access for a 24/7 world

  • Forward information with special copyright permissions, encouraging collaboration between counsel and colleagues.
  • Save time with mobile apps for your BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle.
  • Access all links from any mobile device without being prompted for user name and password.