Drug manufacturer Allergan recently settled a case for an undisclosed amount, which claimed Botox caused botulism in a 5-year-old child in Oklahoma County. The boy suffered from leukodystrophy, a progressively degenerative neurological disease. His doctor treated his spasticity with Botox.
The complaint states that a few days after the child was injected with Botox, he was diagnosed with botulinum poisoning and was hospitalized, requiring a ventilator and feeding tube. More than a year after the Botox injections, the child still suffered from permanent injuries, having difficulty breathing, eating, moving and speaking.
In this news video, Lawyers.com Editorial Director Betsy Kim interviews Matt Sill, a partner at the Sill Law Group in Edmond, Okla. He represented the child in this lawsuit and is handling other cases, where Botox took a deadly turn.
Millions of people use Botox to reduce wrinkles. Doctors also widely prescribe the drug to treat medical conditions, including spasticity. The drug’s active ingredient botulinum toxin A is the deadliest neurotoxin known. It effectively works by paralyzing muscles. This substance is the same toxin that causes botulism, according to the the National Institute of Health.
In 2010, Allergan paid 0 million to settle the Justice Department’s complaint that the drug maker had illegally promoted Botox for off-label treatments. “Off-label” means medical uses not approved by the F.D.A. With Botox, this included treatment for children’s spasticity. Doctors can prescribe medications for uses not approved by the F.D.A. but generally it is unlawful for drug companies to market products in this way. (In December 2012, in United States v. Caronia, the 2nd Circuit ruled that the First Amendment protects pharmaceutical companies’ truthful off-label marketing. However, this only applies to cases in that particular jurisdiction.)
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Allergan has 10,800 employees. According to its 2012 annual report, it earned .76 billion in annual sales of Botox. Matt asserts in a push for profits, the drug company promoted off-label uses of Botox at dangerously high dosages.
Bonnie Jacobs, vice president, corporate affairs and public relations at Allergan, responded to Lawyers.com that the company does not comment on litigation.
Matt continues to represent other children claiming Botox caused severely debilitating injuries. Watch our news video to learn more about Botox, botulism and the legal claims against Allergan.