Botox-manufacturer, Allergan Inc. was ordered to pay $12 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages to a Virginia man who claimed the drug was the cause of his severe disability.
The U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., awarded 67 year old, Douglas Ray the largest penalty ever in a Botox injury case.
In 2007, Douglas Ray was injected with Botox to treat tremors in his hand. Ray became sick with a rash and fever, which quickly led to severe brain damage. According to his wife, he requires round-the-clock care and speaks very few words.
Ray’s lawyer, Ray Chester alleged Botox was administered to the patient for off-label usage and Allergan did not properly warn his doctor about the risks of using the drug.
Usage of Botox for off-label use is not something new. Botox is primarily used as a wrinkle-reducer but doctors have prescribed Botox for treating conditions such as muscle spasms, chronic migraines and cerebral palsy.
“The use of Botox on both cosmetic and medical purposes is only approved for very narrow uses by the FDA, but Allergan has promoted it to doctors all over the country for uses other than wrinkles,” Chester said.
Caroline Van Hove, Allergan spokeswoman said the company has followed all guidelines and may appeal the decision. “The verdict…is inconsistent with Allergen’s past and current actions to properly warn physicians and patients about the potential risks of Botox,” she said.
This is not the first time the Botox manufacturer has had to pay penalties. In September of 2010, the federal government ordered Allergan to pay $600 million to settle civil and criminal allegations against the drug manufacturer for illegally marketing Botox for other uses.
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