Pennsylvania Xarleto Lawsuit Filings Grew 33% in 2017

Published on February 15, 2018 by Laurie Villanueva

More than 400 new Xarelto lawsuits were filed in Pennsylvania over the past year, an increase of 33%.

According to a report from Law.com, there are currently 1,619 Xarelto lawsuits pending in the state’s mass tort program, which is currently underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. That’s up from 1, 214 cases as of January 2, 2017.

Xarelto Background

Xarelto was developed by Bayer, which jointly markets the drug with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration initially approved the novel anticoagulant in October 2011. The blood thinner’s current indications include:

  • Prevention of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.
  • Treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
  • To reduce the risk of recurrent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
  • To prevent deep vein thrombosis, which may result in pulmonary embolism, in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery.

Like many new-generation blood thinners, Xarelto was touted as an improvement over warfarin, a decades-old medication sold under the brand-name Coumadin. The manufacturers of Xarelto promised, among other things, that patients taking the newer drug wouldn’t have to undergo regular blood testing, which is standard with warfarin.

Xarelto also offers a one-size-fits-all dose regimen, while warfarin dosage has to be calibrated for each individual patient.

Xarelto Lawsuit Allegations

Court documents indicate that more than 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits are pending in courts nationwide. The majority of cases have been centralized in a federal multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

Plaintiffs pursuing these lawsuits claim that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson concealed the risks associated with Xarelto, including its potential to cause serious internal bleeding. They also dispute Xarelto’s supposed superiority over warfarin, and point out that internal bleeding caused by the older medication can be stopped via the administration of vitamin K. However, there is currently no approved antidote to reverse Xarelto bleeding side effects.

Plaintiffs also question Xarelto’s one-size-fits-all dosing scheme and contend that patients would benefit from blood testing to determine appropriate dosing.

On December 4th, a Philadelphia jury awarded $28 million ($1.8 million in actual damages and $26 million in punitive damages) to an Indiana woman who developed gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto for a little over a year. However, that verdict was later overturned by the trial judge.

Three Xarelto lawsuits have gone to trial in the federal litigation, all of which concluded with defense verdicts.

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