Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Attempts to Clean Up Hep C Mess

Published: Jan 16, 2013

Last August, Bristol-Myers Squibb ended development of a hepatitis C compound after one patient died of heart failure and nine others were hospitalized during a Phase II study. The move was a huge blow to the drugmaker, which had recently paid $2.5 billion in cash for Inhibitex and its experimental medicine in hopes of grabbing a big chunk of the fast-growing market for hepatitis C treatments. Now, the other shoe is dropping. Having already taken a $1.8 billion charge for the spectacular flop, Bristol-Myers is holding talks with attorneys for several people who say they were injured as a result of participating in the failed study, and the costs and damages for claims could total $500 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Four trial participants have filed lawsuits and 10 more are expected. In one lawsuit, Janet Vella of Corpus Christi, Texas, maintains that Bristol-Myers (BMY) rushed the compound to Phase II clinical trials “without fully evaluating the risks and benefits of the drug.” The drugmaker “pushed ahead with the clincal trials, despite clear signs of heart damage for those enrolled in the trials.” She was also instructed to remain in the trial after a diagnostic test revealed possible heart damage, her lawsuit states.

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