Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corp. over the blood thinner Xarelto have been consolidated in Louisiana federal court. Xarelto has been linked to serious side effects including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding brain bleed and death. The Xarelto lawsuits come on the heels of the recent $650 million Pradaxa settlement. Researchers linked Pradaxa, also a blood thinning medication, to more than 500 deaths. Xarelto blood thinner litigation has been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana, who presided over suits against Merck & Co. over its medication Vioxx. The Vioxx litigation resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement in 2007.
Lawyers in our firm are continuing to work on the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), involving Xarelto. A great deal of progress has already been made in the Xarelto MDL proceedings. Organizational discussions of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) have led to the formation of various committees and subcommittees for the work to be done on behalf of all Plaintiffs currently in the litigation.
I am pleased to report that several members of our firm have been appointed by the Court to serve on the PSC or in key PSC committee roles. Those lawyers include Andy Birchfield (PSC Member and Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel); Gibson Vance (Co-Chair of the State/Federal Coordination Committee); and David Byrne (Co-Chair of the Sales & Marketing Discovery Subcommittee).
Xarelto is a relatively new anticoagulant developed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Xarelto entered the U.S. market in July 2011, and is currently approved for six indications including reducing the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation; treating deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and reducing the recurrence of these conditions; and preventing blood clots in patients following knee or hip replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, Xarelto carries a very significant risk of severe, uncontrolled and sometimes fatal internal bleeding. And unlike Coumadin (Warfarin), a drug that has been the standard in anticoagulation therapy for more than 50 years, Xarelto has no antidote or other way to reverse its anticoagulation effects — leaving doctors and ER professionals without an effective means to stabilize and treat patients who experience uncontrolled or excessive bleeding while taking Xarelto.
In fact, by the end of 2012, Xarelto ranked 10th among all drugs for the number of direct reports of serious adverse events to FDA — and that was after just one full year on the market. Since then, there have been tens of thousands of reported adverse events. But despite all of this, Xarelto’s sales numbers have continued to grow by leaps and bounds — primarily due to an incredibly aggressive marketing campaign.
This is a problem drug that has hurt a large number of people, including hundreds of our own firm’s clients. We are committed to seeing that these people get the help and compensation that they deserve because of their injuries. If you need more information about the Xarelto litigation, you can contact David Byrne, one of the lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at David.Byrne@beasleyallen.com.
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