Two lawsuits have charged that the blood-thinner medication Plavix, the sixth highest selling drug in the U.S., is responsible for 10 patients' deaths. The plaintiffs believe that Plavix constitutes a dangerous drug endangering patients in West Virginia and nationwide. They also argue that it can lead to an increased risk of major complications and deadly diseases such as internal bleeding, heart attack, and stroke.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argue that Plavix does not act any more effectively as a blood thinner than cheap and ordinary aspirin, readily available without any prescription, but that pharmaceutical companies charge patients approximately 100 times more for it than aspirin costs. Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb advertise and try to encourage the use of Plavix to try to prevent blood clots from forming in patients' bodies.
The recent two lawsuits linking Plavix to 10 deaths are not unique. Nationwide, there are already 561 other pending lawsuits asserting that Plavix has harmful side effects or is otherwise harmful to patients. A plaintiff in one of the recent lawsuits says that the drug companies knew that the risks associated with the use of the medication far outweighed any possible benefit.
The companies carried out studies of the effects of the drug, and according to the complaints they covered up the results, deceiving members of the public into thinking that Plavix was simply some kind of super aspirin and was easier on a patient's stomach and otherwise safe. As a result of widespread advertising and promotion, Plavix has racked up recent annual sales reaching the level of $3.8 billion. Plavix is sold for around $4 a pill, which towers above the average 4 cent cost of aspirin, which the plaintiffs state is just as effective, without the harmful deadly side effects.
Source: Consumer Affairs, "Lawsuits blame Plavix for ten deaths," Truman Lewis, Jan. 2, 2013
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