Mass Tort over Xarelto Bleeding Claims Established in PhiladelphiaJan 28, 2015
A mass tort in Philadelphia has been created to consolidate Xarelto lawsuits alleging that the blood thinner causes controllable and sometimes fatal bleeding. According to The Legal Intelligence, the mass tort was ordered by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Administrative Judge Kevin Doherty. The order transfers about 75 cases to the court's Complex Litigation Center.
Xarelto is marketed by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 to prevent blood clots in patients at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). According to the plaintiffs' petition for creation of a mass tort, the drug was touted as the “next generation” of blood thinners because unlike older drugs such as warfarin, it does not require blood monitoring. However, the plaintiffs allege that the drug has an additional worrisome aspect; there is no antidote to reverse bleeding in Xarelto patients. There is a risk of bleeding with all blood thinners, but in warfarin this potentially-deadly side effect can be reversed.
Xarelto was linked to 2,080 injuries and 151 deaths by the end of 2012, the petition said; during this time, plaintiffs allege that representatives continued to market the drug as superior to warfarin. Xarelto raked in $2 billion in sales and 1 million prescriptions by 2013.
In a mass tort, there are numerous plaintiffs suing one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court. The purpose of consolidating these suits into a mass tort is to make proceedings more efficient. According to the petition, a mass tort was the optimal course of action because plaintiffs often had similar or even identical claims. A mass tort eliminates duplicate discovery, inconsistent rulings promotes resolutions for similar cases, plaintiffs argued. There are also federal multidistrict litigation pending across the country, the petition pointed out.