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More Lawsuits Added to Xarelto MDL, Litigation Moves Forward

Oct 10, 2016

Lawsuits continue to mount in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, and Bayer AG. Plaintiffs in the MDL similarly allege that the anticoagulant Xarelto led to uncontrollable, sometimes fatal bleeding. The drug makers are accused of failing to disclose this risk to patients and their physicians. More than 7,000 lawsuits have been filed into the MDL in the Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Eldon Fallon.

Court documents indicate that cases have been flooding the clerk’s office, prompting Judge Fallon to extend the filing deadline by 90 days. Lawsuits are expected to build as the litigation moves forward. Trial dates have been set for the first four bellwether cases. The first two lawsuits are going to trial on February 6th and March 13th 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The following two trials are slated for April 24th and May 30th 2017; they will be held in other districts.

The MDL is not the only Xarelto group litigation taking place. There are nearly 1,000 lawsuits consolidated in a mass tort in Philadelphia.

When an MDL is created, federal lawsuits with very similar claims are grouped together in one court with a single judge presiding. Consolidating complex litigation in this manner makes the process more efficient, and thus takes up less time and fewer resources. Bellwether cases are the first lawsuits selected for trial. Since their outcome is used to predict the remainder of the litigation, these cases are supposed to be representative of most plaintiff allegations.

One of the main allegations in the Xarelto MDL focuses on lack of warning. Plaintiffs allege that Xarelto makers marketed the blood thinner benefits without disclosing the risks. In particular, they allege that Xarelto makers did not warn about the lack of an antidote if bleeding begins. They point out that bleeding in warfarin patients can be stopped reliably, but no such reversal agent is available for Xarelto. Plaintiffs allege that if the manufacturers had provided this information to patients and physicians, many would have chosen a different treatment option.

Xarelto is part of a new generation of blood thinners, which also includes Pradaxa and Eliquis. Similar lawsuits have been filed over Pradaxa (for which an antidote was recently approved), leading to a $650 million settlement on the eve of the trial. Since the litigation with Xarelto claims is similar, plaintiffs are hopeful for a similar outcome.

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