Law Firm Starts First Suit For Death Of Eliquis User

The New York City law firm of Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP this week commenced a lawsuit involving the bleeding to death of a user of the new blood anticoagulant Eliquis. It is alleged that the drug is marketed misleadingly as one size fits all users, and without a prominent warning that there is no reversal agent available to arrest bleeding once it starts. Herschell v. Bristol-Myers Squibb et al, Southern District of New York, Docket No.: 1:15-cv-04620 (2015).

Eliquis-which had the generic name of apixaban-is in the category of new drugs that act as anticoagulants by inhibiting one of the basic factors in bleeding and clotting, Factor Xa. It is jointly sold by two New York pharmaceutical giants, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. The other drugs in this same category are Pradaxa and Xarelto. Eliquis is touted by its makers as more convenient than Coumadin, a drug which has proven its safety in 60 years of use.

Whereas there are many suits pending for injuries and deaths from Pradaxa and Xarelto, the Rheingold firm believes that is the first to be filed for a death from using Eliquis.

In the suit just filed, the widow of Donald Herschell alleges that her husband, age 60, was placed on Eliquis in Virginia by his doctor because of atrial fibrillation. After brief use of the drug, he suddenly developed a massive gastrointestinal bleed. He was admitted to the emergency room where doctors tried unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding and he died the same day.

In addition to liability asserted in the complaint based upon the lack of a reversal agent, liability is also claimed based upon the promotion of Eliquis as a blood thinner which does not need frequent patient monitoring. Also it is asserted that the one daily dose of Eliquis, not tailored to the need of individual patients, presents an excessive risk of bleeding, since patients differ in age, weight and liver function.

The complaint alleges in detail errors and frauds made in the clinical study of Eliquis before it was marketed, including the altering of side effect data. It alleges that to this date the sellers have never revealed to the medical profession what these concealments were. It also details the criticism which a physician in the Food and Drug Administration made in relation to these errors, and a criticism of an article that employees of the defendants published in a medical journal with relation to the incidence of side effects.

Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP is a national firm located in New York City, handling personal injury cases including mass torts, a field which includes the Xarelto and Eliquis litigation. Partner Paul D. Rheingold commented: "We believe that we are on the eve of the development of a mass tort for Eliquis, similar to that for Xarelto, where already our firm and others have filed many suits."


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