Supreme Court to Decide Where Plavix Makers Face Bleeding Lawsuits
The United States Supreme Court will rule on Plavix lawsuits filed against drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb. The company is facing allegations that Plavix, a blood thinner commonly prescribed to patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, caused serious bleeding injuries. Alleged Plavix injuries include bleeding ulcers, cerebral (brain) bleeding, rectal bleeding stroke and death. The Supreme Court will determine where the Plavix litigation will take place.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in drug injury lawsuits. The firm, which closely monitors events in the Plavix litigation, continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Plavix lawsuit.
According to court documents, eight separate product liability lawsuits were filed over Plavix bleeding injuries in San Francisco Superior Court. The cases purportedly represent 678 plaintiffs who suffered excessive, sometimes fatal bleeding allegedly due to Plavix complications. Bristol-Myers Squibb, however, points out that 592 plaintiffs are not residents of California and argues that the state’s courts do not have the authority to oversee their litigation.
The pharmaceutical company has said that it does not have substantial business contacts in California. Bristol-Myers Squibb is headquartered in New York and conducts research and development in New Jersey; company operations do not occur outside of these two states. The company does, however, reportedly have five offices in California and employs 164 researchers in its laboratory facilities. Additionally, some 250 sales representatives based in California are employed by BMS. The mass tort also alleges that California distributors and wholesalers purchased 187 million Plavix pills from 2006 to 2012. These sales totaled $918 million, the complaint states.
Lawsuits allege that BMS mispresented Plavix in claiming that it has “greater cardiovascular benefits, while being safer and easier on a person’s stomach than aspirin.”
Last year, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Plavix lawsuits against BMS can proceed even though most plaintiffs are out-of-state. The suit alleges that Plavix side effects caused heart attack, stroke, cerebral hemorrhaging and gastrointestinal bleeding. According to court records, 18 plaintiffs allege wrongful death. Among other things, BMS allegedly overstated the benefits of Plavix while failing to warn about the risks.
Plavix Lawsuit Background
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Plavix in 1997. The blood thinner is used to prevent blood clots and related complications, such as stroke and heart attack. Lawsuits filed over Plavix allege that the drug caused excessive bleeding, including brain hemorrhaging and gastrointestinal bleeding. Plaintiffs allege that the company knew about the risks but failed to warn patients or the medical community.
Lawsuits also allege that Plavix is comparable in effectiveness to aspirin but costs 100 times more.
In addition to consumer lawsuits, Bristol-Myers Squibb is also facing litigation from state governments. According to a September 2016 press release, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a Plavix lawsuit alleging that the company put patients at risk and deceived taxpayers by misrepresenting the safety and effectiveness of the blood thinner. Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that Plavix is not effective in a certain portion of the population.
“Companies like this must be held accountable for deceiving the public and profiteering off of taxpayer monies and vulnerable New Mexicans who badly need safe, effective medical treatment,” Balderas said.
Similar lawsuits have been filed in the past. In 2014, Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie filed a lawsuit alleging unfair labeling and marketing regarding Plavix. The lawsuit alleges that Plavix makers failed to disclose that the drug is not effective in roughly 30 percent of the population. These individuals have trouble metabolizing the drug due to genetic traits or other medications they are taking. The lawsuit alleges that drug makers, “failed to disclose that negative efficacy information because it would adversely affect the number of Plavix prescriptions written and, thus, sales and revenues,” and that companies “ignored, concealed and minimized clinical trial data and other information” showing that Plavix is no more effective than aspirin, Law360 reported.
Additionally, West Virginia filed a Plavix lawsuit as well, alleging that the price is 100 times the cost of aspirin without being more effective. In Mississippi, a lawsuit alleges that Plavix makers obscured side effects.
Filing a Plavix Lawsuit
If you or someone you know suffered bleeding complications related to the use of Plavix, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).