A weekly update on interesting numbers in product liability, class action and mass tort news from July 7–July 13. Published Fridays.
The sales of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s Eliquis, a significant portion of the $10 billion anticoagulant market. This week, plaintiffs related to a man who died after taking Eliquis accused Bristol-Myers and Pfizer of failing to adequately test the drug and not advertising that the drug had no known antidote. The claims against Eliquis are similar to those made against Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson and Bayer’s competing anticoagulant with many similar properties. In data from late last year, the two criticized drugs made up 89% of the new oral anticoagulant market, and are beginning to displace the classically prescribed warfarin.
The year by which some analysts predict Eli Lilly’s Jardiance will overtake Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana. Invokana and Jardiance are competing SGLT-2 inhibitors, a relatively recent class of type 2 diabetes drugs. After a study showing that Invokana could double the risk of amputation events, Jardiance is taking market share from Invokana. Internal trials by Lilly showed that Jardiance may not be subject to the same amputation risk. Johnson & Johnson is currently the subject of lawsuits over Invokana’s amputation risk as well as lawsuits that claim that the drug causes a host of heart and kidney side effects.
$1.95 per hour
The effective hourly wage Michael Hood, an Uber driver, claims he was paid in a suit against the company. This week, US District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled that the Hood’s case could continue as a collective action, a variant of class action suits where affected parties must opt in. Hood’s claims are similar to other pending cases against Uber that claim that drivers have been misclassified as contractors instead of employees. If classified as employees, drivers would be guaranteed certain labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act, like minimum wage and overtime, that they do not currently receive. Uber has settled many of these cases in the past to avoid resolving the issue of whether drivers are employees or contractors. If Hood’s claims are successful in court, Uber could owe hundreds of millions in back pay.
39.1 per 100,000
The rate of IVC filters installed per U.S population, according to new research that looked at the impact of a 2010 FDA warning about the filters. Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, are devices installed in a large vein to catch blood clots before they reach the respiratory system. After research and patient reports showed that these devices could crack and break in the body, the FDA issued a safety communication warning doctors not to leave the filters inside the body for longer than necessary. Research this week showed that this decreased the rate of installing these filters across the country from 55.1 per 100,000 to 39.1. Some doctors say this rate is still too high, as there is limited medical evidence about the efficacy and safety of the filters. Lawsuits are pending against C.R. Bard and other major manufacturers of the filters.
The percent of off-label uses for drugs that lack strong scientific support, according to a Canadian study. This figure was cited in opposition to legislative proposals offered Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would change rules on communication about off-label uses of drugs. Though introduced as a way to clarify existing rules and expand patient access to care, some committee members and witnesses criticized the suggested changes as a path to untested drugs and unpunished off-label promotion. R. Alta Charo, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin, said in testimony that these proposals would “undermine public health, discourage pharmaceutical research, and set pharmaceutical regulation back by more than 100 years.” Pharmaceutical companies have a clear stake here: settlements in cases dealing with off-label promotion of drugs including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Abilify and Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal have ranged into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
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