In early August, dozens of lawsuits filed against Novartis over the drug maker’s leukemia medication, Tasigna, were consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
Introduced to the market in 2007, Tasigna was approved to treat a specific type of leukemia called CML or chronic myeloid leukemia. CML is characterized by cancerous bone marrow that enters the bloodstream. The condition accounts for approximately 15% of all leukemia cases in adults and currently affects approximately 51,500 people in the US.
Tasigna works by blocking specific proteins that cause cancer cells to proliferate. However, shortly after the drug was introduced, some users developed arteriosclerosis, which is a life-threatening condition where the arteries harden and develop plaque that blocks blood flow.
Plaque in the arterial walls can rupture and form blood clots. Arteriosclerosis is often asymptomatic. It’s only when plaque in an artery bursts and a clot forms that arteriosclerosis may be detected.
But for many people, when arteriosclerosis is detected, it’s too late to do anything to reverse the condition. In many instances, the only symptom of arteriosclerosis is death by heart attack or stroke. In fact, the condition is the leading cause of death worldwide, having caused almost 18 million deaths in 2016.
A small percentage of Tasigna users have been diagnosed with an accelerated form of arteriosclerosis. Unlike “normal” arteriosclerosis, which can develop over many years, accelerated or acute arteriosclerosis may develop in months.
Because of the adverse reactions experienced by some Tasigna users, Novartis added a warning label. But the warning label was applied only to labels prescribed in Canada, not in the U.S.
Claims against Novartis accuse the drug maker of concealing the risk of accelerated arteriosclerosis associated with Tasigna for many years.
At least 125 Tasigna lawsuits have been filed. Depending on how the first bellwether trial or trials go, hundreds or even thousands more Tasigna lawsuits may be filed. Tasigna litigation is relatively new. No trial dates have been set as of September 2021.
If you were prescribed Tasigna and experienced a stroke or heart attack, or developed peripheral arterial disease or coronary artery disease, you may be entitled to receive compensation from Novartis.
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