Xarelto Lawsuits Continue to Mount Over Bleeding Injuries
Bayer Healthcare AG, Johnson & Johnson, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are facing a wrongful death lawsuit over allegations that their anticoagulant (blood thinner), Xarelto (rivaroxaban) led to a West Virginia man’s ischemic stroke and death. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and co-markets Xarelto with Bayer.
The plaintiff brought the lawsuit on behalf of the estate of her late husband over allegations that the drug maker neglected to warn patients and doctors of increased risks of injuries potentially associated with Xarelto, including ischemic stroke. According to the Stroke Association, an ischemic stroke occurs “as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.” The American Heart Association notes that ischemic stroke accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases.
The plaintiff alleges her husband took Xarelto from approximately February 14, 2014 to February 23, 2015. He suffered from bleeding in the lungs and subsequently suffered an ischemic stroke, multiple cardiopulmonary arrests, respiratory failure, and septic shock. He died on March 7, 2015. Lawsuit allegations also include that Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals were aware of Xarelto’s side effects, yet continued to sell the drug despite its serious, deadly risks and that the drug maker concealed critical safety information from the public, the medical community, and federal regulators and did not sufficiently test the drug before releasing it to the market.
Another serious adverse Xarelto reaction is uncontrollable bleeding that may not become apparent until the patient coughs up or vomits blood, suffers from headaches, and/or has red or black stool, which are all indicators of internal bleeding.
Most Xarelto lawsuits similarly allege that the drug maker should have mandated or recommended regular blood monitoring for patients taking Xarelto so that physicians would be able to adjust dosing and help avoid adverse bleeding or ischemic stroke events. Allegations also include that the anticoagulant led to various bleeding events, including gastrointestinal bleeding or brain hemorrhaging and that the drug maker neglected to warn about this risk. Plaintiffs also allege that they would have chosen a different medication if they had been aware that Xarelto could lead to uncontrollable bleeding. In some cases, plaintiffs allege that Xarelto led to wrongful deaths.
The Xarelto Ischemic Stroke Lawsuit is filed within the Xarelto Products Liability multidistrict litigation (MDL) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Four bellwether cases are scheduled for trial in the Spring of 2017. The first Xarelto bellwether trial is scheduled to start on March 13, 2017 and the second is scheduled for April 24th in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The next two bellwether cases will be held in Mississippi and Texas and dates have not been finalized.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) creates MDLs for large, complex litigations in which many lawsuits share similar allegations. An MDL is a type of mass tort that consolidates the lawsuits in one court, before one judge, which makes litigation more efficient by helping to minimize redundancies.
Bellwethers are initial cases in large litigations that are representative of the other cases and go to trial first to provide the parties involved with an opportunity to see how their cases will be received. The goal is to work toward settlement resolution. The first two bellwether cases involve plaintiffs who took Xarelto to reduce the risk of stroke associated with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. One plaintiff allegedly suffered gastrointestinal bleeding; the other plaintiff allegedly suffered bleeding in the brain. The third plaintiff took Xarelto to prevent complications from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the fourth plaintiff took Xarelto for atrial fibrillation; both suffered gastrointestinal bleeding.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm that represents numerous clients in drug injury lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to anyone with questions about filing a Xarelto lawsuit.
What is Xarelto
Xarelto is in the class of so-called “new generation” anticoagulants that include Pradaxa (dabigatran) and Eliquis (apixaban) and is marketed to replace Coumadin (warfarin). Xarelto is prescribed for the treatment of DVT (blood clots that form in a deep vein, typically in the legs), pulmonary embolism (PE), and to minimize risks of blood clots following knee and hip replacement surgery. Xarelto is also approved to help prevent strokes in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. A DVT clot may become life threatening if it breaks free and lodges in the lungs, which will lead to a PE. Blood thinners are prescribed to prevent blood clots and their associated complications.
Xarelto was developed by Bayer Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals and was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 to reduce blood clot risks in patients who recently underwent knee or hip replacement surgery. Later that year, Xarelto approval was expanded as a preventative against stroke and dangerous blood clots in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (an irregular, often rapid heart rate that typically leads to poor blood flow.)
Warfarin is an older generation blood thinner that is sold as the brand Coumadin and which has been prescribed for decades. Certain foods and drugs may interact with warfarin; therefore, patients who take warfarin have to undergo regular blood testing to ensure warfarin blood levels are at appropriate levels. Bleeding events in patients taking warfarin may be controlled with vitamin K
Xarelto patients do not need to undergo regular testing; however, there is no antidote for uncontrolled bleeding resulting from the drug. Plaintiffs allege that Xarelto drug makers were aware that there is no antidote to reverse uncontrolled bleeding events, did not warn of this risk, and marketed Xarelto as a better option when compared to warfarin.
Filing a Xarelto Lawsuit
If you or someone you know suffered uncontrollable bleeding injuries allegedly related to the use of the blood thinner, Xarelto, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).