Potentially Dangerous Side Effects of Leukemia Drug Tasigna

Novartis Leukemia Drug Under Fire

Yet another potentially dangerous drug, Tasigna, manufactured by Novartis, has come under fire. Tasigna, used in the treatment of leukemia, may have some very serious side effects—side effects Novartis neglected to tell patients about. In 2016, a California man died from an atherosclerosis-related condition, alleged to have been caused by Tasigna. The man’s family sued Novartis AG, claiming there was a failure to warn doctors and patients across the United States about dangerous side effects linked to the drug.

The wrongful death lawsuit claimed Novartis was aware of a number of reports which indicated Tasigna was responsible for “severe, accelerated and irreversible” atherosclerosis among those taking the drug. Atherosclerosis is a dangerous thickening of arterial walls. Once the arterial walls have thickened, peripheral arterial disease can result. In addition to causing narrowing of the arterial walls, Tasigna can also cause infection, tissue death requiring amputation, stroke, coronary artery disease and death.

Did Novartis Fail to Warn the American Public?

Novartis neglected to disclose this information to U.S. health officials or doctors—even after a warning was issued by Canada’s health agency in 2013, regarding the risks of the drug. In the California wrongful death claim, the patient died in 2014, from a massive stroke after his doctor switched him from Gleevec to Tasigna to treat his chronic myeloid leukemia. He had no prior atherosclerosis-related conditions when he began taking Tasigna, but soon began to show symptoms of peripheral arterial disease after beginning Tasigna.

After taking the drug for about a year, an angiogram showed that he was suffering from 100 percent blockage in his right femoral artery, and a 90 percent blockage in the arteries behind both knees. At about the same time, his doctor happened upon a medical journal article which made a connection between Tasigna and atherosclerosis-related conditions, and he was taken off the drug, however his arterial blockages were too great, and he died in March 2014.

It appears that Canadian health care professionals and the Canadian public were issued an advisory in April 2013, which warned of the atherosclerosis risks associated with Tasigna, even making reference on Canadian information sheets which accompanied Tasigna of the risk of potentially fatal atherosclerosis-related conditions. Somehow, those warnings never made it to the United States, and the Tasigna labeling in the United States had no such warnings.

The wrongful death claim alleges the failure to warn doctors and patients in the United States was intentional, and, in fact, was a part of an aggressive marketing strategy to have Tasigna outsell competing leukemia drugs. There have been numerous studies published over the years in medical journals which show that Tasigna could potentially cause irreversible, life-threatening conditions, resulting in limb amputation, cardiovascular issues and death, yet Novartis remained silent.

Illegal Misbranding and Payment of Kickbacks for Tasigna

In 2015, the Novartis settled a U.S. Department of Justice Tasigna lawsuit regarding illegal misbranding of the drug and payment of kickbacks. Novartis paid the DOJ $390 million after engaging in aggressive marketing campaigns promoting Tasigna over other leukemia drugs. These advertisements touted false claims of Tasigna’s superiority, omitting any warnings about atherosclerosis-related side effects. Tasigna made Novartis more than $1.7 billion in 2016.

As more and more people take legal action against Novartis, it is hoped the company will be held responsible for their failure to disclose the risks of the drug to patients and doctors. Every patient has the right to know what the potential side effects of a drug they are taking could be. When a drug manufacturer uses illegal and unethical marketing tactics and fails to warn, they should definitely be liable for injuries and deaths.

Contact Our National Dangerous Drug Attorneys

If you have been harmed by taking Tasigna, we can help. Our lawyers have the resources to take on large pharmaceutical companies—and win. We believe in holding negligent drug companies responsible for their dangerous drugs and products and fight aggressively for justice.

To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the Philadelphia product liability lawyers at Golomb Legal today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.

The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb Legal have successfully represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.