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Genentech Enters Phased Recall of Psoriasis Drug Raptiva

On April 8, 2009, Genentech Inc. announced a phased recall of its psoriasis drug Raptiva (efalizumab), citing safety concerns raised as early as October of last year.

Raptiva has been linked to an increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare and often fatal neurological disease. PML is a viral infection which attacks the white matter of the brain, impairing and eventually destroying the ability of nerve cells to transmit impulses. It generally affects patients with severely compromised immune systems.

There are no known cures or effective therapies for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; those who survive the disease are left severely disabled, and its effects are irreversible.

History of Raptiva

Raptiva was approved for sale in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003. By October 2008, however, the agency had updated the drug’s warning label to note the risk of PML. In February 2009, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory on the potentially harmful effects of Raptiva, in response to four cases of PML, three of which were fatal.

As part of the recently announced withdrawal of Raptiva, physicians are urged to stop prescribing it for treatment of psoriasis, and patients currently taking Raptiva should speak with their physicians about alternative methods of treatment.

About Williams Hart

The attorneys of Williams Hart have been monitoring the developments around Raptiva and are concerned about the dangers that Raptiva may pose to unsuspecting men and women. Based in Houston, Texas, Williams Hart stands ready to help victims of defective pharmaceutical products explore their legal options and protect their legal rights.

If you or someone you love has developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy after taking Raptiva (efalizumab), contact Williams Hart at (800) 220-9341 today for a consultation.

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