Baron & Budd Obtains $834 Million Judgment Against Global Drug Manufacturers on Behalf of State of Hawai‘i

February 17, 2021  |  Class Actions, Public Entities

Condensed version of the Attorney General’s press conference explaining the vital role Baron & Budd attorneys played in obtaining the largest civil award in Hawai‘i state history

The nationally recognized attorneys from Baron & Budd recently 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 that  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, deliberately hid information from consumers that could have affected their decision to use Plavix, and rejected any proposed studies that might call attention to Plavix’s limitations. 

Baron & Budd Shareholder Dan Alberstone explains the limitations of Plavix and its effects on patients and physicians

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.”

L. Richard Fried, Jr. of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina, & Fairbanks explains how the involvement of Baron & Budd attorneys was crucial in reaching the turning point of this case

“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. Unfortunately, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi chose to learn this message the hard way.”

Baron & Budd Shareholder Dan Alberstone on the importance of this case for the safety of the people of Hawai‘i

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.

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