Elias LLC filed a lawsuit yesterday against Novartis on behalf of the wife and children of a California man, Dainis Lauris, who died as a result of Novartis’s intentional failure to warn of dangerous vascular risks associated with its drug Tasigna.
Tasigna is a Novartis-manufactured prescription medication for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. In the years leading up to the 2015 expiration of Novartis’s patent on Gleevec, Novartis developed Tasigna as a replacement for Gleevec, and began an aggressive campaign to attempt to convince doctors to prescribe, and patients to take, Tasigna over Gleevec.
During this period of aggressive and, at times, unethical and illegal marketing of Tasigna, Novartis failed to warn of risks that Tasigna caused severe, accelerated, and irreversible forms of atherosclerosis-related conditions—i.e., the narrowing and hardening of arteries delivering blood to the arms, legs, heart, and brain.
Since at least 2011, Novartis was aware that Tasigna caused such conditions. But, despite warning doctors and patients in Canada of the risks of atherosclerosis since 2013, Novartis intentionally failed to warn United States doctors and patients of these risks.
In October 2012, Dainis Lauris’s treating physician switched him from Gleevec to Tasigna. At the time, Dainis was a healthy and active man. Upon taking Tasigna, Mr. Lauris developed severe, accelerated, and irreversible peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD) and cerebrovascular disease that ultimately led to his death on March 31, 2014.
In addition to compensatory damages for the full extent of their loss and suffering, the Lauris family seeks punitive damages against Novartis for its intentional misconduct.
The case, Lauris v. Novartis AG, No. 1:16-cv-00393, is pending in federal court in the Eastern District of California.