Actemra, like many other drugs marketed for rheumatoid arthritis, appears to have a significant number of complications and risks associated with the drug. Despite this, neither the manufacturers of Actemra—Roche and its subsidiary, Genentech— nor the FDA has made a move to withdraw Actemra from the market, or even to add warnings to the labeling of Actemra. A recent study done by STAT resuIted in those who examined the data advising the FDA to consider Actemra warnings regarding pancreatitis and heart failure.

Inflammation of the pancreas in its acute form, can kill half of all patients who develop the inflammation. Further, Actemra appears to also increase the risk of stroke, interstitial lung disease, and heart attack. Interstitial lung disease is a scarring of lung tissue, which can sometimes be fatal, and although the link between interstitial lung disease and Actemra has not been proven, it certainly warrants further review.

Failure to Warn by Genentech and the FDA

A failure to warn the public by the manufacturer of Actemra and even the FDA have resulted in a number of lawsuits against Genentech. Experts say the FDA’s inability to determine whether prescription drugs are, in fact, safe, and the inability to act promptly when potentially dangerous side effects come to light, put the agency in the hot seat as well, although they are not included in the current lawsuits.

Despite the FDA’s struggle to strengthen drug monitoring, the agency has had little success, and does not have the ability to significantly track drug safety once a drug is on the market. Because the new administration, as well as members of Congress, are attempting to push drugs through regulations even faster, it is likely we will see many more issues like the ones facing the manufacturers of Actemra.

Actemra is the Fifth-Highest Grossing Drug for Genentech and Roche

Actemra is currently taken by more than 760,000 patients, generating sales of $1.7 billion just last year, and making it the fifth-highest grossing drug for Roche and Genentech. Although Actemra is primarily used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the drug is prescribed off-label for another 60 or so conditions, and the drug has not been tested for safety and efficacy for these conditions.

Serious Side Effects Associated with Actemra

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which causes joint stiffness, swelling and pain, and while Actemra may not be more dangerous than other arthritis drugs, many doctors and patients are under the mistaken impression that Actemra is safe, simply because there are no warnings on the labeling of Actemra. Yet as far back as 2010, in a review of millions of reports to the FDA involving more than 100 drugs, Actemra stood out. This review found that Actemra patients experienced an unusually high number of serious side effects.

As an example, Actemra users report about the same number of interstitial lung disease problems as Humira users, and more than Remicade, however, unlike those two drugs, Actemra does not warn of the potential for developing interstitial lung disease. There were similar results for heart failure, strokes and heart attacks. While Humira and Remicade warn about those potential problems, again, Actemra does not. Perhaps even more alarming, 132 patients who have taken Actemra died from pancreatitis—a very rare, life-threatening disorder, usually triggered by high cholesterol levels.

Getting the Help You Need Following Actemra Injuries

If you have suffered injury from the drug Actemra, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable Philadelphia personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. The lawsuits for Actemra injuries are increasing daily because of Genentech and Roche’s failure to warn— your Philadelphia class action attorney will work hard on your behalf to ensure your rights and future are fully protected.

To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call the Philadelphia dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik, P.C. today at (2 :L5) 278-4449 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.

The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik, P.C. have successfully represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.