Illinois Woman Says Humira Gave Her Cancer

Courthouse News reports that Abbott Laboratories was recently sued in Cook County by a woman who claims that the drugmaker’s arthritis-treatment shots gave her cancer. The woman received bi-monthly Humira injections for a two year period starting in 2008. She stopped the shots in 2010, when she learned that she had developed B-cell non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma.

The woman’s pharmaceutical liability lawsuit alleges that the drugmaker failed to report clinical trials which indicated that the drug increases the cancer risk in its patients. The “black box” warning label indicating that Humira can cause cancer was only added after the woman began taking Humira, which is also known as “adalimumab.”

“Some children, teenagers, and young adults who received adalimumab injection or similar medications developed severe or life-threatening cancers including lymphoma, cancer that begins in the cells that fight infection,” the warning label now reads.

The woman alleges that the pharmaceutical company’s failure to warn her of Humira’s cancer risk deprived her of the ability to make an informed decision regarding whether to take the drug.

“Although physicians prescribe medications, it is patients who have the ultimate authority to decide whether to put them into their bodies or not,” the woman’s lawsuit reads. “Because of the dangerous side effects of Humira, it is extremely important that both physicians and patients be fully informed – not only about the potential benefits of the drug, but also about the risks of side effects.”

The woman’s lawyer also notes that the drugmaker failed to put the strong warning language on its drug until it was forced to do so by the Food and Drug Administration.