Research and reports to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) tie the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra—also known under the generic name, tocilizumab—to a number of serious and even fatal health conditions. People taking this prescription drug may be at an increased risk for heart failure, heart attack, and stroke, among other conditions. As of January 2018, there are no warning labels for these conditions required on this drug.
If your doctor prescribed Actemra for your moderate or severe rheumatoid arthritis and you suffered a serious health complication, an Actemra arthritis lawsuit lawyer can help you understand if you have a valid case against the drug manufacturer. At D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, we offer free case reviews for the surviving family members of people who died from heart attacks or strokes while taking this medication. Call 713-850-8600 today for help with your defective drug lawsuit.
Damages Available From an Actemra Arthritis Lawsuit
Drug companies, doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals have an obligation to inform patients of all possible complications and side effects of a treatment before they begin. Known as informed consent, this is a key part of ensuring patients understand the risks of their prescription drugs.
When a pharmaceutical company does not notify doctors or patients about possible risks and you suffer complications, you may be able to take legal action. This could result in compensation to cover the following related damages.
Your Medical Expenses
Your compensation should cover the cost of treating your complications, including hospitalization, heart surgery, rehabilitation after a stroke, and other expenses.
If you missed work because you suffered a heart attack or stroke—or if you cannot return to your previous job because you have serious impairments related to your health condition—you may be able to get money to cover your current and future lost wages, as well as your lost benefits.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages account for the psychological effects of suffering a heart attack, experiencing a stroke, or developing a life-threatening illness because of Actemra.
Funeral Costs and Other Wrongful Death Losses
If your immediate family member passed away from a heart attack or stroke while taking Actemra, you may be eligible to take legal action against the drug company. A wrongful death action can recover compensation to pay funeral expenses, burial costs, and other losses you suffered related to your loved one’s death.
The court will sometimes award punitive damages in a defective drug case. These damages punish the pharmaceutical company for its extreme carelessness and negligence in putting so many people at risk. These damages are often substantial.
Linking Actemra to an Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
In 2016, researchers presented a report to the American College of Rheumatology annual convention that indicated the risk of heart failure or stroke was higher with Actemra than with its competitors. The study compared Actemra with another rheumatoid arthritis drug, Enbrel.
Researchers found those who took Actemra were more likely to have a stroke or suffer from sudden heart failure than those on Enbrel. It is important to note, the FDA requires Enbrel to carry warnings about the increased risk of heart attack or stroke for those already at risk. The organization recommends doctors to avoid prescribing Enbrel to patients with cardiovascular disease. As of January 2018, the FDA requires no similar warnings for Actemra.
A year later, health and medicine publication STAT published its review of more than 500,000 reports of side effects and complications from popular arthritis drugs, including Actemra. The findings of this review include:
- Those who take Actemra experience many of the same severe side effects as those who take similar drugs;
- The risk of a heart attack or stroke was “as high or higher” for patients on Actemra as it was for those on other arthritis medications; and
- Unlike most other arthritis medications, Actemra does not carry a warning about the increased risk of heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Current Status of Actemra Legal Action
Because the risks of this medication are just becoming known, the civil case against drug manufacturer, Roche, is in its infancy. Actemra arthritis lawsuit attorneys nationwide are reviewing cases, gathering evidence to support claims, and filing individual lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company. Many of those taking legal action against Roche are surviving family members hoping to hold the company accountable for the death of a loved one.
While it is too early to know for sure how these cases will proceed, we believe the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will most likely consolidate them into multidistrict litigation (MDL). Taking part in an MDL will allow us to combine our resources and complete the discovery process and all pretrial motions as a single case. The MDL process then continues when the court selects a handful of cases to serve as bellwethers. The court tries the bellwether cases first to see how a judge and jury might react to similar cases. If the plaintiffs win these cases, it usually leads to settlement negotiations. If we do not reach a settlement at this point, your case returns to its original jurisdiction for the trial.
Because each state has its own time limits on defective drug cases, it can be difficult to know how long you have to take action. We recommend contacting our personal injury law firm as soon as possible to determine your deadline to pursue compensation. Time limits to hold the drug manufacturer liable for your pain and suffering, or your loved one’s death, may be as little as one year in some states.
Talk to an Actemra Arthritis Lawsuit Lawyer About Your Case
If you believe Actemra caused your heart attack or stroke, or if your loved one died from one of these side effects, now is the time to take action. The legal team from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, can help you understand your legal options and fight to recover the payout you deserve. Call us today at 713-850-8600 for a free case review and consultation.