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A Hawaii court orders pharmaceutical companies to pay $916 million in a lawsuit against blood thinner Plavix

Hawaii's attorney general says a court has ordered the manufacturers and distributors of the blood thinner Plavix to pay a total of $916 million to the state after finding the companies failed to disclose the drug's effectiveness and safety

The ruling was against the Bristol Myers Squibb Company and three US-based subsidiaries of the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Bristol Myers Squibb and Sanofi said in a joint statement that they disagreed with the penalty and planned to appeal.

First Circuit Court Judge James Ashford concluded that about 30 percent of patients, particularly non-Caucasians, were at risk of having an “attenuated response” to Plavix, but the companies did not update the package insert said Attorney General Anne Lopez.

Hawaii filed the lawsuit in 2014, saying more than a million Plavix prescriptions had been filled in the islands since 1998, when the drug first came onto the market.

Hawaii became the fifth state, following Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and California, to file a lawsuit alleging unfair and deceptive marketing of Plavix.

In an emailed statement, the companies said the overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows that Plavix is ​​safe and effective regardless of the patient's race and genetics. They described the penalties as “unjustified and disproportionate”.

It said the Hawaii case was the last remaining legal case and a “clear outlier” considering how the companies had successfully defended themselves against Plavix litigation in other states.

“Plavix has been helping millions of patients with cardiovascular disease around the world for more than 20 years, is recommended as first-line therapy by leading treatment guidelines around the world, and remains the standard of care,” the companies said.

Anna Harden

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