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Humira linked to increased cancer risk in some patients

Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories was recently sued by a woman who alleges that she got cancer because she used the arthritis drug Humira.

The woman was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma after receiving bi-monthly injections of Humira for two years.

According to the complaint, Abbott was aware of clinical trial data which indicated that patients who used Humira faced a statistically significant risk of developing cancer when compared to individual who received a placebo.

Abbot’s failure to warn consumers of their increased risk of cancer makes up one component of the woman’s pharmaceutical product liability complaint.

“Abbott buried and information regarding malignancies in the label,” the complaint alleges. “Further, what ‘warning’ information was mentioned severely downplayed the risk and confused the issue, consistent with its sales message, in rheumatoid arthritis data.”

Courthouse News reports that the drugmaker did not add the black box warning label regarding increased cancer risks for Humira users until after the woman began using the drug, which is also known as adalimumab.

“Using adalimumab injection may decrease your ability to fight infection and increase the chance that you will develop a serious infection, including severe fungal, bacterial, and viral infection that may spread through the body,” the new black box warning reads. “These infections may need to be treated in a hospital and may cause death.”

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Arthritis Drug Humira Blamed for Cancer,” Jack Bouboushian, July 25, 2012

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