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After years of litigation, a Hawaii court judge ordered Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) and Sanofi (SNY) to pay $834 million for deliberately withholding information about the effectiveness of the Plavix blood thinner in East Asian and Pacific Islander individuals, who constitute roughly half of Hawaii’s population.

In a 2014 lawsuit filed by the state, the drug makers were accused of minimizing and concealing trial data and other information showing Plavix was only as effective — or in some cases — less effective than aspirin in treating those patient groups, and that the blood thinner had a higher chance of causing gastrointestinal bleeding. The state also contended the companies knew or should have known Plavix had no effect or a diminished effect on 30% of patients, which could have been identified through a “simple” genetic test.


The court found that between December 1998 and March 2010 — when the Food and Drug Administration required the companies to disclose the warning — they sold 834,012 prescriptions and refills without including important information in product labeling about the large percentage of patients who received less benefit or no benefit from Plavix due to their race and genetic makeup.

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