An Illinois state court jury last month found Abbott Laboratories negligent and ordered it to pay a man $2,244,063 for a near-fatal infection his late wife suffered while taking the rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira. The jury in the Cook County Circuit Court awarded the verdict to the Plaintiff, Milton Tietz. The jury found Abbott negligent for not taking reasonable measures to make sure Delores Tietz’s doctors had a “high index of suspicion for histoplasmosis,” a fungal lung infection suffered by the Plaintiff.
This is the first Humira injury case to go to trial. Delores Tietz was prescribed Humira, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker, in October 2009 and took the drug for nearly seven months. In May 2010, she experienced chest pain and fever and several weeks later was diagnosed with histoplasmosis, the firm said.
Mrs. Tietz sued Humira manufacturer Abbott Laboratories (now spun off as AbbVie Inc.) in 2012, alleging that it negligently failed to warn her or her doctor of the risk of histoplasmosis infection. In September 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told all manufacturers of TNF blockers to provide new information about the risk of unrecognized, drug-induced histoplasmosis. Humira acts as an immunosuppressant in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It was alleged that Abbott failed to send warning letters directly to physicians until 10 days after Mrs. Tietz was hospitalized in May 2010. She died in March 2013, and her husband, Milton Tietz, was named her personal representative in the suit. Mr. Tietz is represented by Jim Purdue Jr., Andy Vickery and Fred Shepherd of Perdue, Kidd & Vickery in Houston and Gary D. McCallister of Gary D. McCallister & Associates in Chicago. These lawyers did a very good job in this significant case.
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