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Oklahoma County jury finds Botox maker negligent, awards $15 million

An Oklahoma County jury awarded $15 million to an Oklahoma City doctor who said she suffered side effects after a 2006 injection of Botox.

BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: May 12, 2010 at 6:29 am •  Published: May 12, 2010
/articleid/3460693/1/pictures/937659">Photo - Dr. Sharla Helton in 2006
Dr. Sharla Helton in 2006
Jurors were deadlocked 8-4 at one point Monday night after hours of deliberations. They deliberated about three hours more Tuesday.

The jury found Tuesday in Allergan’s favor on a second claim against it – that its product was somehow defective.

A key issue in the trial was whether Allergan gave sufficient warning in product labeling about possible problems from Botox Cosmetic use. The labeling in 2006 did not include botulism.

"All they care about is sales,” Chester told jurors in closing arguments Monday. "They were intentionally concealing this evidence.”

Allergan’s attorney, Vaughn Crawford of Arizona, argued that "every known and even remotely possible side effect was in the labeling.” He said the warning in 2006 even included the possibility of death. He said Helton still was willing to use it.

Jurors were instructed they could find negligence if they decided Allergan failed to act like "a reasonably careful pharmaceutical company would” under similar circumstances. One juror told The Oklahoman that the jury found negligence because Allergan’s 2006 product labeling did not have adequate information about side effects. The juror said the jury came to that conclusion after comparing a 2006 label with the 2009 label.

Millions have used Botox since the Food and Drug Administration first approved it in 1989. Helton said Tuesday she is still debilitated by weakness but hopes to get back to practicing medicine again in some way.


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