UPDATE : Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Victims question Kolon CEO’s sincerity in apology
  • By Jeong Sae-im
  • Published 2019.07.05 15:14
  • Updated 2019.07.05 15:14
  • comments 0

Oh Kims Law & Co., leading a lawsuit against Kolon Life Science on behalf of Invossa-treated patients, said the drugmaker’s plan lacked detail and explanation to ensure the safety of the patients.

“We question how the company will spend 80 billion won ($68.3 million) for 15-year follow-up tests for patients,” Eom Tae-seob, a lawyer at Oh Kim, said in a statement, responding to Kolon’s press conference on Thursday.

“Does it mean patients should receive tests on their own and send the receipts to Kolon, or does it mean physicians will conduct tests and claim bills from the company? Both scenarios are very unfeasible.”

Eom Tae-seob, a lawyer at Oh Kims Law & Co., speaks to reporters at the Press Center in Seoul, Thursday.

The law firm also criticized Kolon for an unclear explanation about the safety of 293 cells, mistakenly labeled as cartilage-derived cells and injected into patients’ knees. Kolon’s claim that “293 cells do not remain in the blood” or that “radiation confirmed the complete death of the cells” was not valid as evidence for safety, it said.

“Kolon's claim was based on a sample test, not a full-scale test, so it lacks a basis to prove safety. The best method is to test the joint fluids of all patients periodically, but it will make patients tremendously uncomfortable and painful,” the law firm on behalf of the patients said.

Oh Kims also questioned the sincerity of Kolon CEO Lee Woo-sok when he apologized to the public.

“The questions and answers of Kolon’s news conference were centered on investors and excluded the voices of the patients. Kolon should fulfill its responsibility as a pharmaceutical firm to reduce the suffering of patients,” it said.

The law firm went on to say that while CEO Lee described the internal omission of Lonza’s report on the change of the cell ingredient as a “comical situation,” the Invossa-treated patients felt their lives were threatened because of such “comical situation.”

The law firm went on to say, “We cannot guarantee that this kind of situation will occur in the future because the company did not have any reflection on why this happened and what kind of communicative error it made, but focused only on resuming a clinical trial in the U.S.”

Attending Kolon’s news conference himself, Eom asked questions to CEO Lee, but Lee did not respond.

“This is a press conference, so the lawyer should speak to us on another occasion. There is no one here to answer your questions,” Lee said, leaving the conference room.

Oh Kims filed a second lawsuit against Kolon to claim compensation for damage on 523 patients. With the 244 plaintiffs in the first suit, the law firm will pursue the lawsuit of 767 patients who were treated with Invossa.

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