Pennsylvania’s second Xarelto lawsuit trial got underway earlier this month, with the plaintiff accusing Bayer and Johnson & Johnson of concealing the side effects that may occur when the controversial blood thinner is used in combination with Plavix and other anticoagulant therapies.
The plaintiff in this case is a New Jersey resident and was prescribed Xarelto as part of triple drug therapy to treat atrial fibrillation. He later suffered life-threatening complications, including massive internal bleeding, that he attributes to his use of Xarelto. (Case No. 2439)
During April 6th opening statements in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the plaintiff’s attorney asserted that the use of Xarelto in combination with other drugs like Plavix or aspirin can cause life-threatening internal bleeding, ischemic strokes and other serious adverse events. They further alleged that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson were aware of these potential Xarelto side effects but opted not to warn doctors and patients.
Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are named defendants in more than 21,000 Xarelto lawsuits currently pending in courts nationwide. This includes just over 1,700 cases that have been centralized in the mass tort program now underway in Philadelphia.
All of the currently pending Xarelto lawsuits filed on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered life-threatening internal bleeding events and related side effects due to their use of the blood-thinning medications. The drugs’ manufacturers are accused of understating the risks associated with Xarelto and of wrongly marketing the medication as an improvement over a much-older blood thinner called warfarin. Among other things, plaintiffs point out that internal bleeding associated with warfarin can be stopped via the administration of vitamin K. There is currently no approved antidote to reverse bleeding that may occur in Xarelto patients.
Pennsylvania concluded its first Xarelto trial late last year, when another Philadelphia jury awarded $28 million in compensatory and punitive damages to an Indiana woman who suffered a gastrointestinal bleed after taking the medication for a little over a year. However, the trial court dismissed the verdict in January, after finding that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to justify the jury’s conclusions.
The majority of Xarelto lawsuits are pending in a multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The proceeding has already convened three bellwether trials, all of which ended with verdicts for plaintiffs. The judge overseeing the federal Xarelto litigation recently ordered that 1,200 Xarelto lawsuits be selected for remand to their original court of filing for trial.