Today, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) heard oral arguments to consolidate all federal Xarelto lawsuits before one judge, in one centralized U.S. District Court.
It is widely anticipated that the U.S. JPML will establish centralized proceedings for coordinated discovery and a series of bellwether trials.
Patients who took Xarelto accuse the drug manufacturers of downplaying Xarelto’s bleeding risks and asked that the cases be sent to U.S District Judge David Herndon in East St. Louis, Illinois. An order maybe granted before the upcoming holiday season.
Over 50 Federal Xarelto Lawsuits
Bayer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary are exposed to at least 50 product liability lawsuits over their new-generation anticoagulant. These personal injury and wrongful death claims are pending in 24 different federal courts. According to sources there are 65 deaths attributable to the drug side effects.
Xarelto Uncontrollable Bleeding Allegations
The complaints allege that the drug manufacturers failed to warn about the potential side effects of Xarelto, which caused patients to develop uncontrollable bleeding that resulted in hospitalizations, the need for blood transfusions and in severe cases death.
According to the claims, severe injuries and deaths were avoidable if the pharmaceutical companies had not provided misleading information about the blood monitoring, and if stronger warnings had been provided about the lack of a Xarelto reversal agent or antidote.
MDL Panel Hearing
A group of plaintiffs are seeking to centralize the complaints as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). In complex pharmaceutical claims coordinated pretrial proceedings are established where a large number of lawsuits are filed over personal injuries. The MDL has an important role in streamlining the litigation process, as all plaintiffs and defendants are under one roof, coordinate discovery and the bellwether trials can be set to determine the strength of the claims.
The number of active cases is expected to increase significantly if and when the panel decides to establish a Xarelto MDL.
Recent Xarelto Complaints
Recently Harriet Ibanez, filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. According to Ibanez, she was prescribed Xarelto to prevent strokes from atrial fibrillation in October 2013, and required hospitalization for severe bleeding and blood transfusions.
Also Ann Hartman, filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. According to Hartman, she suffered severe rectal bleeding after being prescribed Xarelto for treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, also requiring hospitalization and blood transfusions.
What is Xarelto?
Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) was developed by Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals in 2011, a new generation anticoagulant touted as a superior alternative to Coumadin (warfarin).
Coumadin has been the go-to blood thinner for prevention of strokes among patients with atrial fibrillation for the past 60 years. All blood thinners have a side effect and increased risk of bleeding problems. Xarelto has been linked to an increasing number of adverse event reports involving uncontrollable bleeding injuries.
Xarelto: No Antidote
Warfarin, can be quickly reversed in the case of an emergency, with vitamin K and blood transfusions. There is no approved antidote available for patients using Xarelto, and many of the bleeding side effects have resulted in catastrophic outcomes, after doctors were unable to control the bleeds.
Xarelto drug makers claim that it is easier to use, since it does not require regular blood monitoring. Some medical experts however suggest that Xarelto blood monitoring may actually help doctors identify patients at the greatest risk of bleeding.