Motion Filed to Consolidate Plavix Lawsuits in Federal Court
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis are calling for a panel of judges to centralize and consolidate all Plavix lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the United States on behalf of users of their blockbuster blood thinner who allege that side effects of Plavix resulted in serious personal injuries and even death.
On December 1, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hold a hearing to determine whether at least 13 lawsuits over Plavix filed in New Jersey, New York and Arizona should be centralized before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings.
The request to consolidate the Plavix litigation was filed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, arguing that centralizing the cases before Judge Freda Wolfson in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey would serve the convenience of the parties, prevent duplicative discovery and conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges.
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Plaintiffs who have filed the Plavix lawsuits oppose the formation of an MDL, claiming it is another delay tactic by the drug makers that would further slow the progress of the cases, many of which have been pending for more than 5years.
All of the Plavix suits allege that the drug makers failed to adequately research their medication or warn about the risk of Plavix side effects, which could increase the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding, as well as a rare blood disorder known as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
Ten of the 13 cases under consideration were filed in New Jersey in 2006 and 2007, having undergone a lengthy process to finally reach the beginning of discovery. At one point they were all administratively dismissed until the Supreme Court ruled on a major case, Wyeth v. Levine, regarding the responsibility of drug makers to put adequate warning labels on their products. They were reinstated after the Supreme Court found that failure to warn lawsuits against name-brand drug makers were not pre-empted by federal law.
In opposition statements filed with the MDL Panel, plaintiffs gave a number of reasons they feel consolidation would further slow their cases. For one thing, they argue, the New Jersey cases are advanced in their depositions, and combining them with the cases from New York and Arizona would slow things down considerably. They also claim that the non-New Jersey cases are much newer and will involve recent events, like the FDA’s 2010 black box warning that some genetic traits prevent Plavix from being effective, that are irrelevant to the New Jersey cases.
Defendants argue that the cases all involve common fact issues surrounding the drug makers’ research and development of Plavix. They also argue that the timing for consolidation is appropriate, as no single case has reached the phase of depositions of “common” fact and expert witnesses who may have knowledge relevant to all Plavix suits.
Plavix cases filed at the state court level in New Jersey have already been centralized before one judge. However, the Supreme Court of New Jersey stopped just short of giving Plavix lawsuits a mass tort designation, the state-level equivalent to an MDL. Instead, the cases were all simply transferred to Judge Jessica R. Mayer for centralized case management.
At the time of that decision, there were 40 cases in New Jersey state court, but Plavix lawyers predicted there could be hundreds or thousands of cases filed at the state level against the defendants.
Plavix (clopidogrel) is prescribed to prevent blood platelets from sticking together to form clots. It is often prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clotting when drug coated stents are used in patients with arteriosclerosis and in other at-risk patients. It is a blockbuster medication, generating more than $6.5 billion in U.S. sales for Bristol Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi-Aventis in 2010.
Plaintiffs allege that they suffered injuries as a result of their unnecessary use of Plavix, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, severe ulcers and a rare blood disorder known as TTP. Some complaints also allege that Plavix did not provide the promoted benefit of reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, raising questions about the effectiveness of Plavix among some users.
In November 2009, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning that side effects of Prilosec may interfere with Plavix effectiveness, increasing the risk of heart attack, death or other injuries for patients.
In March 2010, a Plavix “black box” warning was added to alert patients and healthcare professionals that the anti-clotting drug may not work in some patients due to genetics. The FDA indicated that a genetic test is available to determine whether patients are able to metabolize Plavix efficiently and suggested that doctors should consider another medication for at-risk patients who are confirmed to have the gene variant.
kaddiSeptember 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm
After I had a stent put in my left carotid artery I was told I would be on Plavix for life. I was on Plavix for 5 years with no problems. Then one day in 2009 I got up and had difficulty putting my right foot into my shoe. I was working retail, it was the Christmas season, and thought too many hours standing on my feet. Tired, I didn't take into consideration it was only one foot. When I got [Show More]After I had a stent put in my left carotid artery I was told I would be on Plavix for life. I was on Plavix for 5 years with no problems. Then one day in 2009 I got up and had difficulty putting my right foot into my shoe. I was working retail, it was the Christmas season, and thought too many hours standing on my feet. Tired, I didn't take into consideration it was only one foot. When I got to work I had problems with my vision. Blurry spells on and off. Still didn't think too much. UNTIL......there was a huge blob in the center of my left eye. I thought I had a cataract. I went to a eye specialist that told me a HUGE bloodclot had gone into the eye artery permanently blinding the central vision of my left eye. This distorted my peripheral vision making any kind of movement appear altered. Therefore, making it impossible to drive a car or do anything small like repairing jewelry (part of my job). My MRI showed MULTIPLE places on my brain from scarring that may also be from small bloodclots causing damage. I was switched to Coumadin which is more troublesome but three years later no more brain scarring and no new bloodclots! One has to wonder if Plavix decreases its ability to stop clots after years of use. Today, due to my blindness, screwed up peripheral vision, unable to drive, I am on disability. Doctors told me I was very lucky this large blood clot entered my eye instead of the brain! Plavix did NOT do the job I was told it would do!
SandraJanuary 14, 2012 at 1:04 am
I have taken Plavix since 2002 till 2011 & i,ve had P.A.D AKa , Peripheral artery disease, which i,ve had severe pain & swelling in both my leg's & I will have pain for the rest of my life,DR,s open my veins, The DR. put aStent in my Left thigh to open the vein,s I had surgery Feb,14, 2011. I've also got a STENT in my Right main artery to my heart for thr second time ! I have PERMANENT[Show More]I have taken Plavix since 2002 till 2011 & i,ve had P.A.D AKa , Peripheral artery disease, which i,ve had severe pain & swelling in both my leg's & I will have pain for the rest of my life,DR,s open my veins, The DR. put aStent in my Left thigh to open the vein,s I had surgery Feb,14, 2011. I've also got a STENT in my Right main artery to my heart for thr second time ! I have PERMANENT nerve damage to my left foot from P.A.D and i still have lots of pain from taking PLAVIX !!!!! I AM CRIPPLED FOR LIFE FROM PLAVIX !!!!!!!!!!!
janiceDecember 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Since taking Plavix I have been suffering from heaviness in my chest, pain in my shoulders and arms. I have made five visits the emergency room thinking that I was having a heart attack. My medical bills have increase immensely. At one time, during those visits Doctors were considering bypass surgery.
MichaelDecember 1, 2011 at 12:23 am
I suffered a sub-aracnoid brain hemorrhage after taking Plavix for 5 years, I stopped taking two years ago after the brain bleed and susequent siezure.
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