According to a recent news feature from Fierce Pharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) has reported huge profits over the past fiscal quarter. Their immuno-oncology division had released a drug known as Opodivo that earned $475 million in last quarter alone, but much of the company’s success also comes from a drug known as Eliquis, which raked in $602 million over the same time period.
Eliquis is a member of a class of drugs known as new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) that also includes Xarelto, Pradaxa and Savaysa. These drugs are used to treat various health conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVTs), which is when a clot forms in the legs and then breaks free and does tremendous damage to the patient’s body. If the clot enters the lungs, or forms in lungs to begin with, it can rupture the lung itself, resulting in patient’s lungs filling with blood. This often-fatal condition is know a pulmonary embolism (PE) and is another condition Eliquis has been approved to treat.
Eliquis, Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Savaya are also approved to treat serious medical condition know as atrial fibrillation (Afib), which is characterized by an irregular heartbeat not caused by a valve disorder. You have probably heard SNL actor Kevin Nealon talking about how he takes Xarelto to treat his Afib if you have ever watched a sporting event on TV, as the commercial is often played.
These medications are alternative to Warfarin (Coumadin), which is the traditional blood thinning medication doctors have used for many years. The difference is Warfarin is a blood thinner, and Eliquis is an anticoagulant. While people often use the terms interchangeably, there are differences. One major difference is, with a blood thinner, a patient’s blood must be monitored closely through frequent blood tests to make sure the dosage is correct. If it is not, the patient may suffer a serious bleeding disorder. A patient must also watch what he or she eats, because that can affect dosage as well.
Eliquis was designed so that every patient could take one dose, and they would not need to have frequent blood tests. While this sounds good in theory, the problem, which has been the basis for many Boston Eliquis injury lawsuits, is that a patient can take the drug, do everything a doctor tells him or her, and still develop a serious and potentially deadly internal bleeding disorder, including intracranial bleeding. To make matters worse, until an antidote was recently approved, there was nothing doctors could do but transfuse blood while the patient died. Many people have died as a result of taking NOACs.
It should be noted that drug companies made the antidote only when sales began to slow, as doctors were afraid of what these new medications could do to their patients. As it turns out, there is a reason these companies make billions each year, and that reason is because they are often far more concerned with making a profit than they are about the health and safety of patients taking Eliquis.
Call the Boston Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
Bristol-Myers immunotherapies soar, but Eliquis haul tops the charts, January 16, 2016, Fierce Pharma, By Carly Helfand
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