A former Vietnam veteran has sued Allergan Incorporated, the manufacturer of Botox, claiming that a botox treatment caused him a permanent brain injury. Douglas Ray suffered from hand tremors and his condition worsened over time and in 2007 his neurologist recommended Botox treatments. The first two treatments went without incident but shortly after receiving the third treatment he developed a rash and mental confusion. His condition quickly deteriorated and he is now in a near vegetative state.
Mr. Ray requires 24 hour assistance with nearly all daily living activities, and his doctors do not think he will more than another two years. His medical expenses claim alone totalled $640,000 dollars.
Mr. Ray alleged that Allergan was aware that the botulinum toxin type A, the drug’s active ingredient, could escape from the side of the muscle injection and enter a patient’s central nervous system and brain but failed to warn of that danger. Mr. Ray alleged that the toxin had leaked during his third treatment, entering his nervous system and damaging his brain.
Mr. Ray introduced evidence at his damages trial that in 2007 Allergan had sent “Dear Doctor” letters to physicians in Europe warning of the dangers that the toxin could spread, and the company had considered sending similar letters to US physicians. Mr. Ray asserted that the company declined to do so and failed to advise its sales representatives of safety concerns raised in Europe because of concerns that it could adversely impact sales.
Ray also alleged that Allergan had promoted Botox for off-label uses such as treating hand tremors. The Neurologist who administered the injections testified that the Defendant’s sales representatives had promoted both on and off-label uses for Botox and never advised her of any serious risks.
Allergan argued that his injuries had been caused by a pre existing rare genetic condition that causes progressive strokes. They also argued that there were no previously documented cases of brain damage from Botox in the medical literature.
Ray presented an article from The New England Journal of Medicine stating that Botox injections could enter the central nervous system and brain. The jury in the Trial found that Ray’s brain damage was caused by Botox and determined that Allergan had failed to warn of the dangers. It awarded $12 million in compensatory damages, $200 million in punitive damages and approximately $2.7 million in pre judgement interest. Allergan is appealing the decision.