Last month, the U.S Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation made the decision to centralize all the open cases involving health disasters and financial losses as a result of the anti-blood-clot drug Plavix, New Jersey personal injury attorneys report. Since then, the state’s courts have been flooded with more than 70 lawsuits, and plaintiffs are seeking restitution for the health complications they endured as a result of Plavix use, as well as financial returns for the money they spent on the drug.
Plavix, a prescription blood thinner that is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, has been manufactured and sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., in New York, and Sanofi-Aventis, from Bridgewater, since 1997, with help from the McKesson Corporation, a marketing and distribution company, in San Francisco. While the majority of lawsuits include only Bristol-Meyers and Sanofi-Aventis as defendants, some have also been leveled against McKesson for their part in advertising and promoting the drug.
These cases have been popping up in courtrooms across the country since 2006. The defendants requested the consolidation in New Jersey, a move that was universally opposed by the plaintiffs. But the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) panel approved the request to move once the total number of cases reached 21, all spread out across 9 districts. Now, the total number of lawsuits pending is 73, and the plaintiffs have been listed as the United States, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, along with Chicago and Washington D.C.
In most of these lawsuits, the plaintiffs have claimed that Plavix was falsely advertised, touted as “gentler than aspirin” but with a greater effect in preventing heart attacks and strokes. On the contrary, users have found that the drug instead increased their chances of having a heart attack or a stroke, and could cause internal bleeding or even death in some cases. The plaintiffs allege that the makers knew, or should have known, about these risks, but ignored them in favor of rushing the drug to the sales market, focusing on profit over users’ safety and well-being.
A few of the lawsuits are aimed at the false advertisement through which Plavix was promoted. These plaintiffs, including those in U.S. v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, allege that they overpaid through Medicaid and Medicare in order to use Plavix, and are filing for damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act. To date, doctors have prescribed Plavix to more than 50 million patients in the United States, but usage has dropped off in recent years, due to the rise in medical complications and the appearance of cheaper, generic substitutes.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, represent people in the area who have been injured as a result of a company’s faulty manufacturing or advertising. If you have been taking Plavix, or another prescribed medication, and have experienced adverse health symptoms while using the medication, contact an HCK attorney to discuss your options for a personal injury lawsuit.