Bayer saw its pharmaceutical drug sales jump 5.5% during the second quarter of 2016, a surge that was led by Xarelto. According to the company’s latest earnings report, sales of the novel anticoagulant were up 30% during the period, amounting to €703 million.
Xarelto’s sales came in well above expectations, despite stiff competition from other new-generation blood thinners, such as Eliquis. As a result, Bayer has increased its expectations for the medication, and is now projecting full-year growth of 30%, rather than the 20% it had originally forecast.
“So all in all, we have great momentum and the result only reflected ex-US, but we’re also very pleased with the results reported by J&J and we are quite optimistic with our continued performance regarding Xarelto,” Dieter Weinand, Head of Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division, said during the companies latest earnings call.
Second-quarter U.S. sales of Xarelto amounted to $549 million, an increase of 25% from the same period a year ago. The blood thinner now ranks as one of Johnson & Johnson’s top performing medications.
Xarelto was developed by Bayer, and is marketed by Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. The Food & Drug Administration initially cleared the medication for use in individuals who had undergone knee or hip replacement surgery and who may be at risk for serious blood clots. Xarelto’s approved indications have since been expanded to include the treatment of individuals with atrial fibrillation who have an elevated risk of stroke, and for the treatment of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
Court documents indicate that more than 6,400 Xarelto lawsuits have been filed in federal courts on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered serious episodes of internal bleeding and other life-threatening complications related to the use of the medication. Plaintiffs contend that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson wrongly marketed Xarelto as an improvement over a decades-old anticoagulant called warfarin, even though there currently exists no antidote to reverse bleeding that can occur in Xarelto patients. By contrast, bleeding associated with warfarin can be stopped via the administration of vitamin K.
The federal Xarelto docket has been centralized in a multidistrict litigation that is now underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The Court is expect to convene its first bellwether trials next year.