Eliquis lawsuits revolve around the blood thinner’s serious and sometimes fatal side effect of bleeding. People filing these lawsuits claim that the manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb and the drug’s co-marketer Pfizer did not adequately warn patients and physicians of the drug’s bleeding risks.
Why People Filed Eliquis Lawsuits?
Eliquis is an oral anticoagulant prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. Like Xarelto, Eliquis is a factor Xa inhibitor anticoagulant, a newer class of blood thinners that has been praised for improved ease of use. Even before its approval, the benefits of Eliquis versus more traditional blood thinners like warfarin were touted by cardiologists following the release of clinical trial data for the drug. The clinical study found that Eliquis prevented 21% more strokes than warfarin and showed a reduced risk of bleeding incidents for patients over an average time of 1.8 years.
However, at the time of its release in 2012, Eliquis had one major disadvantage to traditional blood thinners. Eliquis entered the market with no approved antidote available. It wasn’t until 2018, that the antidote Andexaa was approved for both Eliquis and Xarelto.
In the time between the drug’s release and the antidote’s approval, multiple patients taking Eliquis suffered severe, uncontrollable, and in some cases, fatal bleeding events. Many of these patients and their family members have filed Eliquis bleeding lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer for failing to sufficiently warn patients of the drug’s grave side effects.
Clinical Trial Data Scrutinized
Despite published study data highlighting the blood thinner’s promising benefits, Eliquis did not have a smooth road to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA delayed the drug’s approval process twice for a total of nine months while the agency investigated allegations of trial misconduct at the Chinese clinical testing sites. Ultimately, the FDA went through with the approval after determining that the misconduct did not affect the trial results.
How an Eliquis Antidote Affects Legal Claims
All blood thinners pose some risk to patients, but for the first six years that Eliquis was on the market, the drug had no antidote, rendering many severe bleeding events in patients irreversible. Following the approval of the reversal agent Andexaa in May 2018, Eliquis and Xarelto both became significantly safer drugs for patient use.
The majority of the lawsuits filed against the drug makers stem from patients injuries reported prior to the antidote’s release when Eliquis could be especially dangerous to patients should they sustain an injury.
Damages Sought in Eliquis Lawsuits
Newer blood thinners like Eliquis, Xarelto, and Pradaxa have been incredibly profitable for drug manufacturers in recent years. In 2016 alone, Eliquis made $3.3 billion in sales for Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, many of the patients taking Eliquis who experienced complications from the drug experienced significant financial losses.
The medical costs to treat serious bleeding can accumulate quickly between emergency room visits and follow-up appointments. In some cases, not all of these treatments are covered by insurance. Additionally, treatments and recovery from adverse events like severe bleeding often require taking time off work, resulting in lost wages for many patients.
Eliquis lawsuits have been filed to recover compensatory damages like lost wages and medical expenses attributed to complications of the drug. Some lawsuits have also claimed punitive damages to punish the drug maker financially.
Unlike Pradaxa and Xarelto, whose manufacturers have both seen thousands of cases filed against the blood thinners, Eliquis has prompted far fewer lawsuits starting in August 2015. However, most Eliquis litigation has now been consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
MDL 2754 In re: Eliquis Products Liability Litigation
In 2017, Eliquis cases were centralized into MDL 2754 in the Southern District of New York. Over 60 cases have been thrown out by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote since the MDL was created after Judge Cote found the Eliquis warnings on the label sufficient. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supported the dismissal of these lawsuits. As of July 2019, 28 cases are still pending in the MDL.