Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi Aventis face more than 80 new lawsuits filed in recent weeks over gastrointestinal bleeding from Plavix, a blockbuster blood thinner that has been used by millions of people throughout the United States.
The complaints were brought as part of multi-plaintiff lawsuits filed in Illinois and New York state court, including a case filed on behalf of 64 different people in St. Clair County, Illinois Circuit Court on May 24, and a separate complaint filed on behalf of 18 people in the Supreme Court of New York on May 30.
Similar allegations are raised in Plavix lawsuits, indicating that the drug makers failed to adequately warn patients or the medical community about the risk of severe gastrointestinal bleeding or other problems from Plavix, while aggressively marketing the drug by making false claims about it’s effectiveness when compared to aspirin.
Plavix (clopidogrel) is a blockbuster medication prescribed for prevention of blood clots, generating annual sales of over $6 billion for Bristol Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi-Aventis.
Plaintiffs allege that the expensive Plavix treatment may actually provide no benefit over taking a four-cent-a-day aspirin for many patients, yet exposes users to a risk of serious side effects. In addition, the drug maker failed to warn that Plavix may not be effective for certain groups of users.
In addition to gastrointestinal bleeding claims, the drug makers also face other Plavix injury lawsuits, including cases involving severe ulcers, strokes, heart attacks and a rare blood disorder known as TTP, or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpora.
The first lawsuits over gastrointestinal bleeding problems with Plavix were filed more than five years ago, but the number of complaints have increased over the past year months, particularly in state courts throughout the country
In August 2011, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued an order to centralize the Plavix litigation in the state before one judge for coordinated management during pretrial litigation. At that time, at least 40 Plavix lawsuits were pending in New Jersey state court, but lawyers involved in the litigation suggested that there could hundreds or thousands of additional cases would ultimately be filed by individuals who suffered gastrointestinal bleeding or other injuries after using the medication.