Bayer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary are currently facing over 170 product liability lawsuits over their new-generation anti-coagulant, Xarelto. Late in 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) announced that all nationwide Xarelto lawsuits filed in federal courts, including the Southern District of Illinois and the Northern District of Illinois, would be consolidated in the Eastern District of Louisiana. According to Xarelto lawyers, an additional five to ten cases are being added to the MDL per week by individuals that believe Xarelto severely injured them since there is currently no antidote to stop the bleeding. Experts estimate that eventually several thousand cases will be transferred into the MDL.
An MDL is intended to streamline the litigation process, help avoid repetitive discovery and conflicting pre-trial motions, and allow bellwether trials to be set that will potentially determine the strength of the plaintiffs’ claims.
What is Xarelto?
Xarelto was developed in 2011 by Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a new generation anticoagulant meant to be a superior and more convenient alternative to Coumadin (warfarin) in terms of better prevention of strokes and non-central nervous system embolism and the absence of a requirement for regular blood monitoring.
Although all blood thinners have side effects and increase the risk of bleeding problems, Xarelto has been associated with a particularly high number of adverse reports involving injuries associated with uncontrollable bleeding. While the effects of warfarin can be quickly reversed in an emergency situation through the use of vitamin K and blood transfusions, there is no approved antidote available for Xarelto, and side effects from the drug have resulted in devastating consequences when doctors were unable to control the bleeding.
All the Xarelto lawsuits make essentially the same allegations: drug manufacturers failed to warn consumers and medical professionals about the potentially dangerous side effects of Xarelto, which include:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- The need for blood transfusions
- Death in severe cases
Severe injuries and deaths could have been avoided had the pharmaceutical companies not provided misleading information about blood monitoring, and if stronger warnings had been issued concerning the lack of a reversal agent or antidote, according to court documents.