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Blood thinner to face action over fatal bleeding

2 minute read

Product liability

A new blood thinning agent, marketed for having minimal side effects, may face litigation in the U.S. involving claims the medication has been linked to potentially fatal bleeding complications. Eliquis (Apixaban) is an anti-clotting agent used for persons with a heart irregularity known as atrial fibrillation to reduce risk of stroke. It is also used after knee or hip surgery with the aim of preventing deep vein thrombosis.

The proposed lawsuits indicate that although the side effects are similar to that of older blood thinning medications, Eliquis does not have a reversal agent to counteract severe bleeding events like its predecessors. Lawyers investigating this matter thus allege that drug companies Pfizer and Bristol-Myers manufactured Eliquis negligently and failed to warn consumers of risks associated with the medication.

Shortly after its release in Australia, Eliquis was included in a safety alert from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) September, 2014. The TGA reported that post market experience with these drugs revealed serious and potentially fatal bleeding complications.

The use of Eliquis may be increased due to its listing as a subsidised medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Furthermore, the drugs’ marketing promotes that it requires no dosage adjustments and involves minimal dietary regulation.

The claims against Eliquis have been criticised by experts who assert that injury could have been avoided if patients had undergone frequent visits with their healthcare practitioners. This poses a timely reminder that persons prescribed Eliquis should frequently visit their doctor for potential dose adjustment and become informed of the indications of bleeding complications and the need to seek urgent medical attention if bleeding is suspected.

If complications are experienced, Eliquis users should be encouraged to report these problems to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Click to read more about Xarelto, another blood thinner linked to fatal bleeding.

Click to read about Product Liability claims.

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