State sues maker of Plavix for misleading marketing in Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A lawsuit filed today by the State Attorney
General against the makers of Plavix alleges that they marketed a drug in
Hawaii that they knew would not work for up to half of the population.
More than 1 million prescriptions of the blood
thinner Plavix have been filled in Hawaii since 1998, due to marketing claims
like this one from a commercial.
It says, "Plavix when used with other heart
medications goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone to provide even
greater protection against heart attack, stroke and even death."
State Attorney General David Louie says it's false
advertising that puts profits above patient safety. At a press conference
announcing the lawsuit, Louie said, "For some, it may have actually
increased risk because it was marketed to be a substitute for aspirin."
The Attorney General points to studies done 4 years
before Plavix hit the market that showed the drug may not work for a majority
of East Asian and Pacific Islanders, roughly half of Hawaii's population.
Louie said, "For a very significant portion of
our population, the drug had no effect."
Attorney Rick Fried filed the suit on behalf of
Hawaii. Fried added, "The manufacturer has gone to great lengths not to
let this information come out because certainly in Hawaii if half the people
taking it stop, that's millions of dollars they lose."
The FDA forced manufacturers to put a warning on the
Plavix box in 2010 and tone down misleading marketing about its benefits.
Fried said, "They tried to claim the Plavix
worked better than aspirin. Well, first it didn't."
There's a simple swab test many Hawaii cardiologists
now offer to reveal whether Plavix will work for a patient or who may be better
off taking baby aspirin, at 4 cents a pop versus paying 4 dollars for a Plavix
Louie summed up by saying, "if you're taking
Plavix, it might work, but it also might not work. Talk to your doctor.
You have to ask yourself why would I pay one hundred
times more than aspirin to continue taking something that's not
Hawaii is now the fifth State to file a lawsuit
about Plavix marketing claims.
The State's seeking civil penalties, and return of
profits, obtained by unethical acts.
According to the lawsuit, Plavix makers have
profited more than 100 million dollars from Hawaii sales since 1998.