Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Bristol-Myers, Sanofi Must Pay $834 Million Over Plavix

  • Hawaiian judge found blood-thinner’s marketing violated law
  • Companies will appeal, say Plavix is ‘safe and effective’
Tablets of the Bristol-Myers Squibb blood thinner Plavix.

Tablets of the Bristol-Myers Squibb blood thinner Plavix.

Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg

Updated on

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Sanofi were ordered to pay the state of Hawaii more than $834 million for illegally marketing their blockbuster blood-thinning drug Plavix in a manner that put some users’ lives at risk.

Judge Dean Ochiai in Honolulu concluded Monday the drugmakers misleadingly marketed Plavix and failed to properly warn consumers in the state about its health risks. The companies produce the medicine as part of a joint venture.

The $834 million was awarded as a civil penalty for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi’s violation of Hawaii’s consumer-protection laws through their improper Plavix marketing campaigns. Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors’ lawyers showed the companies didn’t properly disclose the blood thinner was ineffective for as many as 30% of users in the state, the judge said.

In a 43-page ruling, Ochiai said Bristol-Myers’ and Sanofi’s deceptive marketing practices “knowingly placed Plavix patients at grave risk of serious injury or death in order to substantially increase their profits.” The judge concluded “the defendants were engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in Hawaii regarding Plavix” over a 12-year period starting in December 1998.