Attorneys at the Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC were appointed Special Assistant Attorneys General to prosecute claims against Bristol Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi relating to their marketing of the prescription drug Plavix® (clopidogrel bisulfate) ("Plavix"). Plavix is a prescription blood thinner manufactured by Bristol Myers and co-marketed in the United States by Sanofi. Plavix was first approved by the FDA on November 17, 1997 for the reduction of atherosclerotic events (myocardial infarction, stroke, and vascular death) in patients with atherosclerosis documented by recent stroke, recent myocardial infarction, or established peripheral arterial disease ("PAD"). Several years later, on February 27, 2002, the FDA approved Plavix for the treatment of patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome (unstable angina/non-ST elevation myocardial infarction), also known as "NSTEML." On August 17, 2006, the FDA approved Plavix for the treatment of patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), also known as "STEMI." Plavix was Bristol Myers' number one selling product and has been the second highest grossing prescription medicine in the world for the past several years. The reported worldwide revenue for Plavix in 2011 was $9.5 Billion with sales in the United States accounting for $7 Billion.
The Fitzsimmons Law Firm filed a parens patriae claim on behalf of the State of West Virginia in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia alleging that Bristol Myers and Sanofi engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices regarding their marketing of Plavix. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Bristol Myers and Sanofi asserted without justification that Plavix was a superior drug to aspirin for certain indicated usages and charged approximately one hundred times more for Plavix than aspirin despite Plavix having no such superior efficacy. Plavix costs approximately $4.00 per pill whereas aspirin costs approximately only $0.04 per pill. The State's Complaint alleges causes of action for (1) violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W.Va. Code §§ 46A-7-101,
et seq. ("WVCCPA"); (2) misrepresentations to the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) in violation of W.Va. Code § 5-16-12; (3) violations of the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, W.Va. Code § 33-41-11; (4) unjust enrichment; and (5) common law fraud. The State is seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties, restitution and disgorgement of profits.