Tasigna Class Action Lawsuit
The popular leukemia drug Tasigna has been tied to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, a potentially life-threatening medical condition that results in a hardening and narrowing of the arteries possibly leading to heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery disease. Tasigna’s maker, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, faces lawsuits for failing to warn about the potential risk of atherosclerosis from Tasigna treatment and other serious side effects tied to the cancer drug. If you or a loved one underwent chemotherapy treatment with Tasigna, you may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or wrongful death. Contact an experienced Tasigna lawyer today to discuss the possibility of filing a Tasigna lawsuit or Tasigna class action lawsuit.
What is Tasigna?
Popular Leukemia Drug Linked to Potentially Life-Threatening Side Effects
Tasigna (nilotinib) is a targeted chemotherapy drug manufactured by Novartis. Tasigna was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007, as a treatment for Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML), a cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. In the years since its FDA approval, Tasigna has become one of the most widely used cancer medications in the world.
How Does Tasigna Work?
Tasigna belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which help prevent the growth of cancer cells by blocking a protein called BCR-ABL. In individuals with Ph+ CML, the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells, and these cells are often damaged or immature. The protein BCR-ABL is made by CML cells that have an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome, and blocking the protein stops the leukemia cells with this chromosome from growing.
Common Tasigna Side Effects
A growing body of evidence suggests that Tasigna treatment can cause some patients to experience rapid, severe and irreversible medical problems. The following are side effects allegedly associated with Tasigna treatment:
- Long QT syndrome
- Severe bleeding
- Cardiovascular problems
- Heart attack
- Blocked arteries in the extremities
- Sudden death
The severe side effects most commonly linked to Tasigna treatment are heart and blood vessel problems, primarily due to atherosclerosis-related conditions. In Tasigna patients with atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque affecting the flow of oxygenated blood through the body can increase the risk of sudden death from cardiac arrest. Tasigna has also been shown to extend the QT interval, a measurement of the heart’s electrical cycle, in some patients. This so-called QT prolongation can lead to a type of irregular heartbeat known as torsade de pointes, which can result in fainting, seizures or death.
Why Did it Take So Long to Warn About Tasigna Side Effects?
Novartis has been accused of knowing about the possible side effects of Tasigna and deliberately concealing this information from the public for years. In fact, reports suggest that Novartis became aware of the link between Tasigna and atherosclerosis as early as 2011, when an American Journal of Hematology study identified a risk of “rapidly progressive peripheral arterial occlusive disease during treatment with nilotinib.” Yet, the company did nothing to warn patients or doctors about this risk, allowing thousands of cancer patients to continue taking the drug in hopes that it would improve their health. Many patients taking Tasigna are still unaware of the possible link between the leukemia drug and potentially life-threatening side effects, like atherosclerosis.
Tasigna Linked with Atherosclerosis
Studies Linking Tasigna to Atherosclerosis and Other Side Effects
Since Tasigna’s regulatory approval, several studies have established a potential link between Tasigna and atherosclerosis. In one study published in the American Journal of Hematology, researchers found that CML patients treated with Tasigna had a greater risk of developing central and peripheral artery disease, or a hardening of the arteries possibly leading to sudden death. According to the study findings, eight out of 24 CML patients treated with Tasigna suffered peripheral artery disease, myocardial infarction and sudden death, among other complications.
Who is Most at Risk for Tasigna Atherosclerosis?
Any person prescribed Tasigna for chronic myeloid leukemia or another condition may be at risk for atherosclerosis and other severe side effects. Patient reports indicate that even those with no history of atherosclerosis-related conditions can suffer serious complications from Tasigna treatment, which often have a rapid onset and may be life-threatening.
Tasigna Lawsuits Claim Wrongful Death
Filing a Tasigna Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Novartis
Several Tasigna lawsuits have already been filed against Novartis by individuals who took the leukemia drug or their surviving family members. In a Tasigna wrongful death lawsuit brought in 2016, the family of Dainis Lauris claimed that the man’s death from a massive stroke in 2014 was caused by his use of Tasigna. According to the lawsuit, the leukemia drug caused Lauris to suffer “severe, accelerated, and irreversible” conditions from atherosclerosis, including a 100% narrowing of his femoral arteries, a 40-60% narrowing of his coronary arteries and a 70% narrowing of his cerebral arteries.
Despite a growing number of problems affecting Tasigna and Novartis, the FDA has yet to issue a recall for the cancer drug in the United States. The FDA did, however, send a warning letter to Novartis in 2010, indicating that the pharmaceutical company’s Tasigna advertising on Facebook violated the agency’s guidance regarding the use of social media for marketing drugs. According to the FDA, the advertisements in question did not adequately inform readers of the risks of taking Tasigna, incorrectly implied that Tasigna was an appropriate treatment for all forms of CML, and improperly suggested that Tasigna was more effective than similar drugs.
Health Canada Tasigna Warning
In 2013, Health Canada, the agency tasked with overseeing the health and safety of Canadian citizens, called for changes to the Tasigna label to include the potential risk of atherosclerosis in patients taking the drug. At that time, Novartis had reported at least 277 cases of atherosclerosis in Tasigna patients, based on clinical trial data collected from 2005 to 2013. Sadly, this warning has been left off Tasigna prescriptions sold in the United States.
Tasigna Lawsuit Settlement
Tasigna has become the subject of several lawsuits in recent years due to potentially severe side effects, and Novartis has agreed to settle a number of lawsuits, rather than let them go to trial. In August 2018, for example, Novartis reached a settlement agreement with Dennis McWilliams and his wife Lori, who filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that Tasigna treatment had caused McWilliams to suffer a stroke. According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, Novartis failed to properly warn them and their doctor about the possible side effects of the chemotherapy drug.
Novartis Settles Federal Tasigna Lawsuit
In 2015, Novartis announced a $390 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over state and federal claims that the company had illegally marketed several of its pharmaceutical drugs, including Tasigna. According to a whistleblower complaint filed by a former Novartis sales manager, the company defrauded the Medicare and Medicaid programs by illegally paying kickbacks to specialty pharmacies so that they would recommend their drugs to patients.
What is My Tasigna Claim Worth?
Because the Tasigna litigation is fairly new and only a few lawsuits have been submitted so far, it can be difficult to predict how much your Tasigna injury claim could be worth. Each individual case is unique and the amount you or your family could receive as part of a Tasigna settlement or verdict varies depending on the circumstances of your case. Typically, plaintiffs in Tasigna cases will pursue economic and noneconomic damages related to their injuries, including:
- Lost income
- Cost of treatment
- Cost of travel to and from medical appointments
- Loss of companionship (consortium)
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (designed to punish the defendant)
The best way to find out what your Tasigna claim may be worth is to consult a Tasigna attorney with experience helping individuals harmed by dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
Class Action Lawsuit Against Tasigna
A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit taken on by several people as a group against a person or company allegedly at fault for the injuries experienced by the group. In the case of a pharmaceutical drug distributed to thousands of people, it is common for a class action lawsuit to be filed on behalf of a group of individuals who suffered similar injuries from the same medication, for drug design defects, drug manufacturing defects or failure to warn. A Tasigna class action lawsuit has not yet been filed.
What You Should Know Before Filing a Tasigna Lawsuit
Answers to the Most Common Tasigna Lawsuit Questions
Filing a lawsuit for pharmaceutical drug injuries can be complicated and confusing, especially if you aren’t familiar with the legal process and how best to pursue the compensation you deserve. Below are answers to some of the most common Tasigna lawsuit questions.
What Does it Cost to File a Tasigna Lawsuit?
Product liability lawsuits like the claims brought against Novartis for its Tasigna leukemia drug are almost always taken on a contingency basis, which means your lawyer will only get paid if you recover compensation. In other words, you will pay no money up front, which significantly reduces the risk associated with filing a lawsuit. During your initial consultation, it is a good idea to ask your lawyer what fees you can expect to incur if you receive compensation from a trial or settlement.
Can I File a Tasigna Lawsuit Against Novartis?
If you or a loved one meet the following conditions, you may have grounds to file a Tasigna lawsuit against Novartis:
- Took Tasigna as a chemotherapy treatment
- Diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia
- Suffered a severe side effect, such as atherosclerosis (or a condition stemming from it), a cardiovascular event, QT syndrome, or sudden death
If these conditions apply to you or your loved one, your first course of action should be to contact a reputable Tasigna attorney right away to discuss your legal rights. You may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries, but it is important not to wait too long, or you could miss the filing deadline.
How a Tasigna Attorney Can Help
Lawyers Helping Families Harmed by Tasigna
Pharmaceutical drug-related injuries can be devastating for you and your loved ones and the most important step you can take after suffering an injury or side effect allegedly caused by a defective medication is to talk to a product liability lawyer to understand your legal rights. If you or a loved one experienced atherosclerosis or another potentially life-threatening side effect while taking Tasigna, contact an experienced Tasigna attorney today for a free, no-obligation claim review.