Xarelto, the number one prescribed blood thinner in America, is facing numerous lawsuits after its side effects caused irreversible bleedings, stroke, and death. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) classified Bayer’s controversial medication as one of the most dangerous drugs available on the market.
Settlement Amounts: $28 million
Plaintiffs’ principal lawsuit accusations
Since Xarelto (rivaroxaban) received approval in 2011, Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary) made millions by selling this Novel Oral Anticoagulant (NOAC) to US patients. This blood thinner is used to prevent blood clots and strokes in people who suffer from Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), Pulmonary Embolism (PE), and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). However, this drug is also very dangerous, as it may cause uncontrollable bleedings that cannot be stopped since there is no antidote available to reverse its effects. Many people who were injured by the Xarelto side effects filed a litigation against the manufacture pharmaceutical companies Bayer, Johnson & Johnsons and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, holding them accountable for the harm they suffered. Both Bayer and J&J, in fact, never warned patients properly about the medication’s risks.
Plaintiffs’ principal accusations include negligence and failure to warn since the absence of a strong warning label about its complications prevented doctors from adequately understanding the real dangers associated with this drug. Patients who switched from older (and allegedly safer) anticoagulant drugs to this one, should now be scared even by the mildest trauma since just a simple bump or fall may cause a potentially fatal bleeding. According to the many claims, the pharmaceutical companies only focused on the drug’s safety and benefits, and never thoroughly explained its potential hazards, including the lack of a proper reversal agent.
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Xarelto Statue of limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit imposed by law to file a case against the manufacturer. In the case against Xarelto, the statute of limitations depends on the state the patient who used the medication resides. In most states, the time to pursue a claim does not start until the injured person discovers or should have discovered the injury was linked to the medication either but not limited to forms of media, recalls, or Ads shown on T.V. In all cases, time is still limited to file a claim.
Why is Xarelto Considered Dangerous?
One of the most bothering inconveniences of taking old-generation blood thinners such as Warfarin was the necessity of adopting a weekly blood test routine. Together with the annoying dietary restrictions, and the constant dosage adjustment required, Warfarin therapy proved to be burdensome and downright annoying for many people. That was the same reason rivaroxaban became an incredibly successful product in such a short time. In fact, Bayer chose to market Xarelto as the first oral anticoagulant not to require monitoring.
However, the same characteristics that make rivaroxaban more appealing to patients make it also more dangerous to their health. This blood thinner has a very low therapeutic index, meaning that its safe dosage is dangerously close to the one where the drug starts becoming toxic. Even a small shift in those biological activities that flush medications out of our systems may lead to a potentially harmful (or even lethal) overdose. For this same reason, Warfarin required constant monitoring in the first place, as blood testings were the primary instrument through which doctors kept their patients’ health checked. And since no proper antidote exists to reverse the effects of Xarelto, even the smallest bleeding event can become lethal. Unlike Warfarin, for which the administration of Vitamin K is sufficient to stop the hemorrhage, doctor’s have no reliable strategy to save a patient’s life whenever this happens.
Xarelto Advertisement and Fraudulent Commercials
Xarelto’s biggest selling points were its unique one-size-fits-all dosage, as well as the freedom it left patients from enduring any monitoring routines and dietary restrictions. Since 2013, many popular commercials hyped this medication’s superiority over its competitors.
The blood thinner was widely advertised by famous celebrities such as the comedian Kevin Nealon, race car driver Brian Vickers, and golf champion Arnold Palmer. During the commercial, Nealon’s punchline focused around inviting patients to choose whether they would prefer spending their days in a blood clinic checking for their drug’s dosage rather than relaxing in a beautiful golf course.
However, many plaintiffs and their lawyers alleged that the drugmaker simply overstated its safety and effectiveness caring only to increase the profits. Telling the public that no regular blood test monitoring is needed may expose them to unnecessary dangers.
Xarelto Trials Consolidated (MDL Number 2592)
The number of federal cases filed kept steadily growing year after year. Due to the high number of Xarelto litigations that have been filed, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated these cases into a multidistrict litigation (MDL Number 2592) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana presided over by Judge Eldon Fallon, and a mass tort class action in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
An MDL is used to speed up the legal procedures by consolidating many cases into a single one, choosing some of them as the most representative ones (in this case, four cases have been selected). If your dispute becomes a part of an MDL, you will still keep your own lawyer, and your case will be handled as an individual one.
Litigation Cases Pending
McGowan v. Janssen
Thomas Dunkley was the first Xarelto victim who died after suffering from a severe bleeding to the brain. Ruth McGowan, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of her deceased father, claims that after using the medication for a month to prevent a risk of stroke, Mr. Dunkley quickly fell ill and then died. Doctors were not able to stop the cerebral hemorrhage, and the poor man died in agony shortly after being hospitalized. The plaintiff accuses Bayer and Janssen of not properly testing rivaroxaban before it was distributed to the public and concealing its dangers with a misleading advertisement campaign.
Packard v. Janssen
William Packard’s wife filed a litigation against Xarelto’s manufacturers after her husband passed away unexpectedly because of the side effects of Xarelto. Attorneys states Mr. Packard was prescribed Xarelto for atrial fibrillation and used the anticoagulant for jus six months before suffering a fatal stroke. Skilled physicians desperately tried to save him with cranial surgery, but the bleeding could not be stopped and eventually caused the man’s death. William’s family now seeks financial compensation, and accuses the pharmaceutical company of not adequately warning the public about the dangerous consequences stemming from the absence of an antidote.
Initial Bellwether Trial Dates
Recently, Judge Eldon Fallon scheduled the initial bellwether trial dates for next April and May, while the other cases in the Philadelphia mass tort have been postponed to August 2017. Product liability lawyers got little time left to review their cases and decide whether their clients are entitled to receive financial compensation before they are summoned to court. Due to the statute of limitations, all lawsuits against Bayer and Janssen not brought in time will be barred, so it’s imperative to file your dispute as soon as possible before time runs out. As per April 2017, JPML’s latest records report a total of 16,285 cases currently pending in the MDL, defining the mass tort as one of the biggest in the history of pharmaceutical liability litigations.
Xarelto Bellwether Trials Updates
The first Xarelto bellwether trial on April 24, 2017, ended in a victory for the defendants of Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The federal jury decided in favor of the pharmaceutical companies again during the second and third trials. However, a state court in Pennsylvania rewarded plaintiff Lynn Hartman with a $28 million compensation in December 2017. The lawsuits were all selected among over 18,000 bleeding injury litigations filed, and a total of 40 bellwether cases have been scheduled to be heard by the Louisiana court so the litigation is far from being over.