Each year, pharmaceutical companies come up with a number of new ideas for drugs, or combinations of drugs that are intended to treat, cure, or manage certain conditions. Only a relative handful, however, ever receive full approval for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When a drug reaches the market, many patients automatically assume that the drug is completely safe; Otherwise the FDA would not have approved it. The reality is that all pharmaceuticals and drugs are known to have some possible dangers and side effects, and it is up to each manufacturer to be sure that doctors and patients know all of the risks involved.
The Dangers of Depakote
Early last month, a federal jury in East St. Louis, Illinois ruled that AbbVie, the makers of Depakote, must pay $15 million in damages to a 10-year-old California boy. The boy was born with a spina bifida after her mother chose to take the drug to help in her battle against mental illness. Depakote is intended to treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder, as well seizure disorders like epilepsy. The boy’s mother claimed that she was never made aware of the birth-defect risks associated with Depakote, mostly because officials at the manufacturer downplayed the dangers. According to the boy’s lawyer, the drugmaker knew that Depakote is “one of the most toxic drugs to a human baby.”
In his closing arguments, the boy’s attorney said that the rate of birth defects for mothers on Depakote was an astounding 10.7 percent. Yet, he said, the company never even told doctors the full risks, let alone their patients. Attorneys for AbbVie maintained that the boy’s mother did, in fact, know the risks, but she chose to use the drug anyway.
Damages for the Plaintiff
While the jury rejected a request for punitive damages against the North Chicago-based AbbVie, the court did find the drugmaker liable for failure to warn of the drug’s risks. The $15 million award was intended to cover the boy’s medical expenses and future care. As of now, he has already undergone 12 surgeries and is confined to a wheelchair.
The verdict marks the second against AbbVie in recent years, along with several major settlements. There are about 700 more cases still pending against the drugmaker.
Call Us for Help
If you or a loved one has used a prescription drug as directed and suffered serious side effects as a result, you may be entitled to collect compensation. Contact an experienced Kane County product liability attorney to discuss your case. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation at Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C. today.