The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has rejected calls for all federal Plavix lawsuits to be consolidated in one court for coordinated handling during pre-trial litigation. This means that the litigation will proceed as individual cases in various district courts throughout the United States.
Last week, the JPML denied a motion by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis to centralize the federal Plavix litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. According to the panel, the centralization would not help move the cases through the system faster and would provide no benefit to the parties involved.
There are currently only 12 lawsuits filed against Plavix pending in the federal court system, with 10 of them pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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). Lawsuits had been filed against the makers of Plavix over internal bleeding, ulcers, heart attacks, strokes and other health problems allegedly caused by the popular blood thinner.
There are 40 Plavix cases filed in New Jersey state court. Plavix (clopidogrel) is prescribed as an anti-platelet agent, to prevent blood platelets from sticking together to form clots. It is 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.
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.