Plavix Litigation Expected to Grow

<"">Plavix litigation is on the rise and expected to increase. The popular drug, used to prevent blood clots in people at risk for a heart attack, has been linked to some serious side effects, especially bleeding. As a matter-of-fact, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, on which we just wrote, found that patients taking Plavix are 12 times likelier to suffer recurrent ulcers and Plavix gastrointestinal bleeding than those who received a combination of aspirin and a heartburn pill.

Lawyer USA Online reports that some 40 new Plavix cases have been filed in New Jersey state court; Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis—Plavix drugmakers—are looking for mass tort treatment and consolidation. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys, thousands of other Plavix lawsuits are pending federal court filing, said Lawyers USA Online. A rise in lawsuits has been seen since last March when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated a black box warning label be included with Plavix packaging.

In March, a black-box warning—the FDA’s strongest safety warning—was added to Plavix’s label and warned of “diminished effectiveness” in patients who metabolize the drug poorly. The Plavix label advises doctors to counsel their patients that Plavix will cause them to bruise and bleed more easily, and that it will take longer than usual to stop bleeding.

Plaintiffs allege that Plavix offers no increased efficacy over aspirin, but does create a greater risk for adverse events; plaintiffs also allege that the makers of Plavix never warned patients about increased heart attack, stroke, and dangerous blood disorder risks, said Lawyer USA Online.

Eleven plaintiffs who filed in Illinois state court, also accuse the makers of Plavix of conducting intense marketing via television ads saying that Plavix is a “super-aspirin,” even while the drug makers’ studies proved that Plavix risks significantly outweighed the drug’s benefits, noted Lawyer USA Online.

Due to the approaching end to the statute of limitations, scheduled to run out in early 2012 based on the initial FDA warning issued March 2010, Plavix litigation is increasing and expected to increase, Lawyer USA Online pointed out.

In addition to gastrointestinal and cerebral hemorrhaging, Plavix bleeding can include eye (conjunctival,
ocular, retinal) bleeding, musculoskeletal bleeding, fatal intracranial bleeding, respiratory tract bleeding, and skin bleeding, according to its label. As a matter-of-fact, bleeding, including life-threatening and fatal bleeding, is the most commonly reported Plavix side effect.

Other Plavix side effects include Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura or TTP. TTP is a rare blood condition that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body. The blood clots can cause serious problems if they block the blood vessels and limit blood flow to the brain, kidneys, or heart.

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