The public-interest news organization ProPublica issued a new report that indicates manufacturers spent more in 2015 on physician payments for Xarelto than any other drug.
These payments were not for research, but for things like consulting, meals, travel, promotional speaking, gifts, and royalties. In past studies, ProPublica revealed that doctors who received payments from manufacturers tended to prescribe proportionately more brand-name drugs than those who did not.
Payments to Physicians Affect Prescriptions
It is required by law to release details of payments to doctors and United States teaching hospitals for things such as travel, promotional talks, and the like. ProPublica collects this information and does an analysis each year.
In general, companies made approximately $2 billion in general payments to over 600,000 doctors in 2014 and 2015, along with an additional $600 million a year to teaching hospitals. The other top-five drugs in 2015 along with the leading Xarelto are the blood thinner Eliquis, the rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, the diabetes drug Invokana, and the hepatitis C drug Viekira. Other studies, in addition to ProPublica’s, revealed similar findings.
Personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been injured by adverse side effects from pharmaceuticals, including Xarelto.
Studies Reflect How Company Spending May Influence Doctors
Researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered in 2016, that medical company payments to physicians in Massachusetts were linked to higher rates of prescribing brand-name high cholesterol medications. Their study showed for every $1,000 a physician received, his rate of prescribing the brand-named medication increased by 0.1 percent.
Lead study author Dr. James S. Yeh remarked that doctors should be objective about their prescriptions, “rather than doing something because there is financial gain, whether it be subconscious or conscious.”
An additional study in 2016 had similar results. Payments from August 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 were analyzed by researchers along with the prescribing data for individual doctors for four classes of drugs. These drugs included statins, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and antidepressants. They discovered that a total of almost 280,000 physicians received over 63,000 payments associated with these drugs.
Results showed that doctors who received a single meal promoting the target drug had higher rates of prescribing that drug over others. In addition, receipt of additional meals costing over $20 was connected with higher relative prescribing rates.
The conclusion was: “Receipt of industry-sponsored meals was associated with an increased rate of prescribing the brand-name medication that was being promoted.” One of the study authors, Dr. R. Adams Dudley noted the researchers were surprised that it “took so little of a signal and such a low value meal” to influence a doctor’s thinking.
There are currently over 11,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in courts all over the United States. It is likely that plaintiffs will use the information that has been gathered by ProPublica and others to aid their claims that drug manufacturers boosted the benefits of Xarelto while minimizing the alleged potential side effects.
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is considered one of the “new generation” anticoagulants and is frequently prescribed in place of warfarin (brand name Coumadin), the established blood thinner that has been available for over 60 years. Xarelto and similar newer blood thinners such as Eliquis and Pradaxa, became popular because they are more convenient offering freedom from mandatory blood level monitoring and the dietary restrictions that come with warfarin. However, the price for convenience, can be uncontrollable bleeding and other potentially life-threatening side effects.
Independent studies have noted it would have been beneficial, especially for the elderly, if blood monitoring had been part of the newer generation drugs’ regimen. This would help to identify those who may be more at risk for excessive, possibly life-threatening excessive, uncontrollable bleeding.
Unlike warfarin that has an available antidote, at this point, Xarelto has no known antidote or effective treatment to quickly restore clotting ability in the event of an internal bleeding episode, the need for emergency surgery, or a serious accident.
Dr. Rita Redberg, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco said, “There have been deaths reported of people who have had trauma and were on one of these new anticoagulants, and they were not able to be reversed.”
Some plaintiffs allege Xarelto was brought to market too rapidly without sufficient testing for safety and efficacy.
Legal Help for Xarelto Users
If you or someone you know suffered adverse side effects, such as uncontrollable bleeding due to the use of Xarelto, you may have valuable legal rights. The attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).