As a Texas cardiologist and Defective Drug Product Liability attorney, I am providing this update for patients who have been injured by the use of Plavix, including excessive bleeding, hemorrhage and death.
Federal New Jersey Plavix MDL
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) has centralized all Plavix lawsuits filed in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Wolfson in the District of New Jersey for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
The MDL process is set up to reduce unnecessary discovery, prevent conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties. This MDL process is basically a fast track process to expedite the pre-trial work up, allow bell wether trials and pave the way to a global settlement.
According to a status report provided by the makers of Plavix, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, there are complaints with a total of 1,036 individual claims contained in those lawsuits that have been recently transferred to the MDL court.
Plavix Injury Allegations
The allegations in the Plavix lawsuits involve claims that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis failed to adequately warn patients or their physicians about the side effects of Plavix, which has been linked to a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, and a potentially catastrophic blood disorder known as thrombotic thrombocytopenic pupura (TTP).
What is Plavix?
Plavix (clopidrogrel) is a blockbuster drug in the United States and is prescribed to prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. There are approximately 3 million Plavix prescriptions written each month in the U.S., and concerns have emerged that many of these may be unnecessary due to widespread genetic resistance to Plavix.
Can Gene Resistance Makes Plavix Useless?
According to some experts Plavix has been touted as being better at its job of being a clot buster than aspirin. Plavix is very expensive, at several dollars a pill, while aspirin can be bought for a few cents a pill. Experts question the effectiveness of Plavix for many patients and whether it actually provides any benefit over aspirin.
In August 2009, University of Maryland medical researchers discovered a gene variant in one-third of the general population that may demonstrate reduced effectiveness of Plavix. People with this CYP2C19 gene variant have reduced functioning of a liver enzyme that converts Plavix to its active form, making Plavix ineffective.