Jury Clears Doctor in Botox Suit

News   ·   October 9, 2004

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New York Times
By MIREYA NAVARRO

Published: October 9, 2004

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8 – A Superior Court jury cleared a prominent Beverly Hills dermatologist of medical malpractice on Friday after finding that Botox injections did not cause the severe ailments that a patient complained about in a lawsuit.

The patient, Irena Medavoy, 45, wife of Mike Medavoy, former head of Orion and TriStar Pictures and now chairman of Phoenix Pictures, had accused the physician of treating her with Botox for migraine headaches without warning of the risks or disclosing he was a paid consultant for the drug manufacturer, Allergan.

Mrs. Medavoy had said the business ties had compromised the medical judgment of the physician, Dr. Arnold W. Klein, and made him all too eager to apply Botox in ways not yet approved by the government.

Botox, an injectable form of botulinum toxin, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for specific uses, including treating certain frown lines. It is not illegal for doctors to try out products already in the market for new treatments.

On the third day of deliberations, the jury voted, 9 to 3, to reject a connection between Botox and the many symptoms Mrs. Medavoy said had left her bedridden for months after one Botox treatment for migraine. The symptoms, she said, included “life-altering” headaches, upper respiratory problems and weakness.

Mrs. Medavoy had also sued Allergan, of Irvine, Calif., saying it had engaged in false and misleading advertising. Allergan executives said the trial was the first such court case over Botox injections, the top cosmetic procedure in the country. The drug has $562 million in annual sales worldwide.

The case also became a subject of worry about health problems because of the popularity of Botox in the entertainment industry.



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