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The judgment issued against these drug manufacturers is the largest civil award in Hawai‘i state history
February 18, 2021, LOS ANGELES — Today, the nationally recognized attorneys from Baron & Budd obtained an $834,012,000 judgment against global pharmaceutical companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Sanofi Aventis U.S. LLC, Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc., and Sanofi US Services Inc., on behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, resolving consumer protection claims that these companies engaged in unfair and deceptive practices involving their blockbuster drug, Plavix.
Plavix is an oral antiplatelet medication designed to prevent the formation of blood clots in patients who have recently suffered from a heart attack or stroke. However, after a four-week trial the court found that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi knew at the time Plavix was first sold to the public in 1998 that there was a significant, yet undisclosed, limitation to the drug, specifically a diminished patient response, particularly in those of non-Caucasian races. However, despite the seriousness of this limitation, the court found that the drug companies “turned a blind eye toward the problem out of concern that addressing it might affect Plavix sales and the companies’ profits.”
According to the court’s ruling, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi “deliberately withheld vital information from the FDA and the greater medical community about the issue,” that they “deliberately hid material information from consumers that could have affected their choice of, or conduct regarding Plavix,” and “engaged in a pattern and practice of rejecting any proposed studies that might call attention to or generate interest in” Plavix’s limitations. By doing so, the court concluded that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi “knowingly placed Plavix patients at grave risk of serious injury or death in order to substantially increase their profits.”
“The greatest charge a government has is the safety and welfare of its people. One of the ways it fulfills that charge is through enforcement actions like this one, to ensure that companies doing business in the state do so in a fair and honest manner. This is a major victory for the State of Hawai‘i, as well as consumers around the world who are dependent on the honesty and transparency of prescription drug manufacturers,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder, Dan Alberstone. “We are confident that the court’s decision will send a strong message to prescription drug manufacturers that they should not place profits over patient safety and undermines the meritless argument advanced by these defendants that this lawsuit was manufactured by the State’s outside lawyers. Unfortunately, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi chose to learn this the hard way.”
Baron & Budd’s Plavix trial team was led by Dan Alberstone, Peter Klausner, Evan Zucker and Elizabeth Smiley. The Baron & Budd attorneys also worked alongside L. Richard Fried, Jr. and Patrick F. McTernan from Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina, & Fairbanks.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, California wildfires and environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.