A Southern District of Illinois judge is centralizing approximately 24 Xarelto lawsuits as directed by the JPML (United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation). This move consolidates the suits now filed in various U.S. district courts across the nation.
The justice system is consolidating active cases into MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the hope of reducing duplicate discovery and avoiding conflicting orders while moving the cases to resolution. The blood-thinning drug has allegedly injured every plaintiff in these Xarelto lawsuits.
Xarelto: Designed To Treat Stroke & Pulmonary Embolism
Xarelto is a prescription medication that was first approved for use in the United States at the end of 2011. The drug is mostly prescribed to prevent strokes in an individual suffering atrial fibrillation and as a treatment for pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Some patients are prescribed Xarelto as a preventative measure to avoid developing deep vein thrombosis after undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery.
After its release in November 2011, Xarelto rose to the top as one of the leading blood thinners prescribed to prevent strokes caused by atrial fibrillation. The drug was designed mainly to be a direct competitor to Pradaxa, another leading blood thinner.
The pharmaceutical manufacturer developed the drug hoping to replace warfarin (Coumadin) as the ideal solution for stroke prevention due to atrial fibrillation. Unfortunately, the drug maker offered no strategies to doctors that could reverse internal bleeding caused by taking the medication. To date, there is still no approved reversal agent to properly manage the drug.
More Lawsuits Coming As Complications Become More Pronounced
The number of product liability lawsuits continues to grow. This is because of associated side effects of taking Xarelto, which is known to cause serious, severe bleeding and other medical issues including:
- Hemorrhagic stroke
- Bleeding in the brain
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Reported Medication Problems
In early 2013, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) had received thousands of reports outlining complications of the prescription medication from patients taking the drug from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012. Out of the 2081 Xarelto complications reports, 151 patients were reported to have died as a result. The numbers of deaths and complication reports were in direct contrast to the prescription medication warfarin, which has been prescribed as a blood thinner for decades, and had a reported 56 deaths occurring in the same period.
Many plaintiffs filing civil action against the blood-thinning manufacturer are alleging the prescription drug was marketed improperly. The complaints allege that pharmaceutical marketers promoted the product as a significant improvement over its competitor warfarin.
While plantiffs were told the drug was better than its competition, the suits claim it caused injuries. They claim while bleeding associated with warfarin use can be stopped by taking vitamin K, no approved antidote has been found to stop internal hemorrhaging caused when taking Xarelto. The plaintiffs in the case allege that the pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor failed to warn consumers adequately about the potential of uncontrollable, serious bleeding caused by the drug.
Why Consolidation Is Important For Families With Xarelto Claims
It is the hope of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that consolidating the cases will serve as a convenience to all the parties, courts and witnesses involved in the suit. Typically, a small number of cases involve the coordinated pretrial litigation will serve as “bellwether” cases, to help determine how future juries might respond to the evidence and facts shared in all of the plaintiffs’ lawsuits.
The first oral arguments are scheduled at the beginning of December 2014 on motions filed on behalf of a group of plaintiffs. However, the joint Xarelto pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors (Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and Bayer Healthcare) are pushing back. It is their argument that the consolidation should be rejected because each case is too individualized. They also argue that holding an informal coordination between all affected parties could produce the same results.
In addition to numerous patients filing Xarelto lawsuits against the pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor, surviving family members are also filing suit alleging their loved ones died from side effects when taking the drug.
In all likelihood, litigation used to resolve Xarelto bleeding issues and associated injuries and death will likely take years to complete. This is because of the substantial amount of discovery involved in the suits, and facts concerning how the prescription medication was developed and marketed to doctors and consumers.