Patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) recently started filing litigations after taking Actemra (tocilizumab), a drug that is implicated in more than one thousand deaths. According to recent researches, the use of this medication is associated with deadly side effects such as heart attacks, cardiovascular failure, stroke or lung disease. Genentech, however, never included these life-threatening adverse reactions in the warning label.
Bellwether Trial Date: Not Yet Yet
Injury: heart attacks, cardiovasular failure,stroke.
Settlement Amounts: Not Yet Determined
What is Actemra?
Actemra (tocilizumab) is a monoclonal antibody, a biologic drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults and children. This type of medication pertains to a category of new drugs manufactured through modern genetic engineering techniques. RA is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system. Symptoms include pain and swelling as the bone and cartilage of the articulation are slowly destroyed. A protein known as interleukin-6 (IL-6) is directly involved in this process, although the full mechanism of this condition is still unknown.
Tocilizumab mimics a protein that occurs naturally in the human body and is thus capable of inactivating the interleukin-6 complex by binding to it. This medication can effectively suppress the excess autoimmune reaction and stops the inflammation from harming the joints. Actemra is usually administered as a subcutaneous injection every 1-2 weeks or as a monthly intravenous (IV) infusion. In May 2107, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved Actemra for use in patients affected by a second chronic autoimmune disease: Giant Cell Arteritis.
Why is Actemra dangerous?
According to a research published by STAT, thousands of patients died from pulmonary and cardiovascular complications shortly after using Actemra. The investigation involved more than 500,000 adverse reaction reports submitted to the FDA for all types of RA drugs, and compared tocilizumab to competing medications such as Remicade, Humira and Enbrel. Researchers found “clear evidence” that using Actemra could cause life-threatening side effects such as stroke, interstitial lung disease, pancreatitis and heart failure. The FDA received a total of 1,128 death reports of patients taking this medication, although it is still unclear whether the drug was the direct cause of these fatal accidents. The risk of these serious adverse reactions was higher with Genentech’s new medication than with the three competing drugs.
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Fraudulent marketing and misleading lies
In 2010, Genentech, the subsidiary of Roche that manufactured Actemra, advertised it as a “unique” breakthrough medication that could forever change the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors and patients were misled into believing that the new drug was not associated with the disabling side effects of the other alternatives. Competing drugs such as Humira, Enbrel and Remicade were, in fact, linked to a serious risk of potentially lethal heart, pancreas and lung problems while, according to the claims of the pharmaceutical company, Actemra was perfectly safe. None of these dangerous adverse reactions have ever been included on the medication’s label.
What Is The Actemra litigation
Since its approval in 2010, Actemra has been prescribed to at least 760,000 American patients. Genentech earned well over $1.7 billion in just one year by selling this medication, most of which granted by the daring claim about its alleged lack of side effects. Since the drug’s label included no warnings about these dangerous consequences, many victims filed a lawsuit to seek compensation in court. Hundreds of plaintiffs claim that if they knew that this drug was as dangerous, if not more, as the alternatives, they might have chosen a different one.
According to the attorneys that are currently pursuing this litigation, the drugmaker failed to warn the public about Actemra’s dangers and negligently marketed a defective product. Genentech willfully misled hundreds of thousands of patients into believing that tocilizumab was safer than the competitor medications and devoid of most typical life-threatening side effects. Filing a lawsuit in court may be the only way to seek adequate financial compensation for all the medical expenses, physical and emotional damage you had to endure.
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Current status of the legal proceedings
Since the case is extremely new, to date no Actemra Multi-District Litigation has been centralized, yet. However, as the number of individual lawsuits filed will grow, judges from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigations (JPML) may consolidate a certain amount of litigations in one court to speed up proceedings. The time to file a personal claim against Genentech is determined by each state’s Statute of Limitations.
If an Actemra class action suit is formed and a global settlement is eventually reached, rewards will be split among all plaintiffs. Settlements and verdicts awarded in an MDL, on the other hand, will be distributed individually on a case basis. Our lawyers will then fight to grant you the maximum compensation possible depending on the extent of the injuries you or your beloved one suffered.