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Biogen, Elan Sued For Allegedly Concealing MS Drug Risks

Jul 1, 2005 | Boston Business Journal

A patient is suing Biogen Idec and Elan Corp. PLC, accusing them of concealing risks of their multiple-sclerosis drug Tysabri before withdrawing it from the market.

Bloomberg News reported that the patient filed a federal court suit in San Francisco claiming both companies knew the drug could cause a rare nervous system disorder. The suit, filed by an MS patient, wants the drug's development partners to cover costs for medical monitoring of every patient who took the drug before it was taken off the market in February over safety concerns.

The plantiff's lawsuit is envisioned as a class action complaint that would sue on behalf of everyone else who used the drug. That would include patients with Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Cambridge-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Ireland's Elan Corp. (NYSE: ELN) pulled the drug after at least one MS patient using it died from a rare nervous system disorder known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML.

Biogen Idec reported this week that the drug showed promise as a Crohn's Disease treatment, based on data from a clinical trial completed before the drug was pulled from the market and all other clinical trials.

Biogen Idec is the third-largest domestic biotechnology company.

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