Plavix Lawsuits Filed By More than 1,000 Plaintiffs Removed to MDL

  • Written by: Austin Kirk

As the number of lawsuits centralized in the Plavix MDL continues to increase, with complaints involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs transferred into the coordinated federal proceedings this week, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the federal Plavix litigation delayed the first organizational conference until next month.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) centralized all Plavix lawsuits filed in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the District of New Jersey for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

At that time, 21 different complaints filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country were transferred to the new multidistrict litigation or MDL. The process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

Late last month, Judge Wolfson scheduled an initial conference in the Plavix MDL for June 10, to discuss the organizational structure of the litigation. Parties were directed to provide status reports on each case, which were submitted late last week.

On June 6, a letter (pdf) was sent to all parties by Judge Wolfson, notifying them that the conference was rescheduled for July 12 at 10:00 a.m.

The conference was postponed after the U.S. JPML ordered the transfer (PDF) of at least 16 additional lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, after determining that the actions involve common questions of fact with actions already pending in the Plavix litigation.

According to a status report (PDF) provided by lawyers for the makers of Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, the recently transferred complaints each involve multiple plaintiffs, with a total of 1,036 individual claims contained in those lawsuits.

The Plavix cases were originally filed in California state court, and a dispute exists over whether the claims were properly removed to the federal court system under diversity jurisdiction, as the complaints include non-diverse plaintiffs and a California drug wholesaler is listed as a Defendant, which plaintiffs maintain should have prevented the removal of the cases from state court.

“Defendants believe that a key threshold issue in this multidistrict litigation is determining whether federal jurisdiction exists over the multi-plaintiff cases removed to the Northern District of California, which include the substantial majority of the plaintiffs in [this] MDL,” wrote attorneys for the drug makers, asking the Court to approve a plan to file a coordinated set of briefs on the jurisdictional issues.

Resolving the issue of whether these lawsuits and the hundreds of plaintiffs involved in the Plavix cases will remain in the federal court system will substantially affect the discovery plan in the MDL, according to the Defendants’ status letter.

Plavix Efficacy, Safety Problems

The Plavix lawsuits involved in the MDL all involve similar allegations that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the potential side effects of Plavix, which has been linked to a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, severe ulcers, a rare blood disorder known as thrombotic thrombocytopenic pupura (TTP) and other injuries.

Plavix (clopidrogrel) has been used by millions of people in the United States and is commonly prescribed to prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. There are between 2.5 million and 3 million Plavix prescriptions handed out each month in the U.S., and concerns have emerged in recent years that many of these may be unnecessary due to genetic resistance to Plavix.

While Plavix has been promoted as being better at its job than aspirin, with a cost that is many times higher than aspirin, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of Plavix for many patients and whether it actually provides any benefit over aspirin.

In August 2009, researchers from the University of Maryland identified a gene variant found in about one-third of the population that may signal a reduced effectiveness of Plavix. People with the CYP2C19 variant have reduced functioning of a liver enzyme that is supposed to convert Plavix from its inactive form to its active form, potentially making Plavix ineffective at reducing the risk of blood clots.

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  1. Kathy Reply

    PLavix killed my father in 2005 of a cerebral hemhorage, he only took plavix for 2 months. We filed a suit in 2006 and we havent heard anything , AT ALL!!!!! I write the lawyers and call but the only response is we are going through millions of reports and depositions. Seriously? My father was taken to soon and my mother is suffering emotionally and financially. How much longer is BMS going to stretch this out for already, Your product kills, so just compensate the families already, it wont change the facts that so many lost loved ones because of this drug, but atleast it might make there daily living less stressful. I wonder if the makers of Plavix would give this pill to there loved ones, and if it were them who lost someone, Im pretty sure this case would have been settled long ago. Big Pharma has Big money so why should they care who they kill and how peoples lives have been damaged forever. Come on JUSTICE SYSTEM do your jobs and help the families out already!

  2. David Reply

    After 4 heart attacks, a stroke, 18 heart caths, 30 stents, 2 endartrectmies, and at which time I was on plavix for over 5 years. My life as I knew it is over. I might as well be dead. Financial hardship has taken over and I’m not much use to anyone. I have retained a reputable law firm and I sit here and wait while the legal system does there thing. I apologize to all the families that have lost loved ones, but from where I sit,they got of easy because they didn’t have to endure that I have.

  3. teresa Reply

    PLavix killed my mom on OCT. 25 2006 my mom just had turned 63yrs old this medication taken our mom from us you cant imagine the pain and the heart ache that this has caused our family because the same year on may 4th. 2006 we also lost our dad its been very hard for us all that has lost our very dear loved ones and the emotionally disstress has been very unbareble on their birthdays, holidays, and days we lost them every day that goes by i think of them i miss their hugess their laughter and their kissess i will never forget them they where my life i was only 35 when my parents where taken from me and now i am getting ready to turn 45 and i miss them more and more each day of my life this medication has taken our lifes away from us and now my husband is on the plavix for the same reason i dont know if i can go threw this again and the lawyers still hasnt worked out anything for the families ALL i get is a recording but that will never bring back our loved ones that means so much to our families that has lost their loved ones and they are right they dont care about our loved ones as long as they get their money for their medications that they sale thats all they care about but wait until it comes home to them and see how they feel about lossing their loved ones.

  4. penny Reply

    I have also been waiting for several years I almost died too go bleed I am so far in debt due to medical bills credit ruined second chapter13 need answers

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