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Son Blames Xarelto for Father’s Death, Seeks Punitive Damages

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In December 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federal Xarelto lawsuits into one court in the Eastern District of Louisiana before the Honorable Judge Fallon. Currently, about 400 cases are pending there.

One of the cases recently filed involves a plaintiff who claims the anticoagulant blood caused internal bleeding that led to the death of his father.

Plaintiff Claims Xarelto Caused Wrongful Death

The plaintiff, a Georgia resident, is the son of the man who allegedly died because of his ingestion of Xarelto. He’s also the representative of the decedent’s estate. He has filed the Xarelto lawsuit against manufacturers Janssen Pharmaceuticals and parent company Johnson & Johnson, as well as against co-manufacturer Bayer AG.

According to the complaint, the decedent was first prescribed Xarelto in November 2012 for his atrial fibrillation. The FDA approved the drug in 2011 for the treatment of non-atrial fibrillation, to help patients reduce their risk of blood clots and stroke.

The decedent continued to take Xarelto for several months. On March 27, 2013, he suffered serious internal bleeding that led to his death. The plaintiff claims that had his father known about the risks associated with Xarelto, he never would have taken it.

Manufacturers Misinformed Patients About Xarelto

The plaintiff also notes in his case that the defendants told patients in advertisements that they wouldn’t need regular blood monitoring when taking Xarelto, like patients normally do when taking warfarin, the leading anti-coagulant for decades. They also noted that there were no known dietary restrictions with Xarelto, like there are with warfarin.

Such advertisements made Xarelto look like a “one size fits all” drug, the plaintiff states, while failing to provide adequate warnings about the risks. The boxed warming on the drug, for example, did not address the increased risk for serious and fatal bleeding, despite early clinical trials showing that in comparison to warfarin, patients taking Xarelto experienced more gastrointestinal bleeds and needed more transfusions.

Doctors Question Lack of Xarelto Bleeding Antidote

The plaintiff also points to a January/February 2013 ad in the WebMD magazine in which the defendants advertised Xarelto—an ad that resulted in a warning letter from the FDA. The administration stated that the ad was misleading because “it minimizes the risks associated with Xarelto and makes a misleading claim.”

He also references a 2012 Huffington Post article in which prominent cardiologists and other health care professionals questioned the use of Xarelto, noting that the drug had no antidote for a bleeding emergency, as warfarin does. Indeed, patients taking warfarin who experience excessive bleeding can be treated with vitamin K injections to encourage blood to clot again. There is no such treatment for patients taking Xarelto who end up in the same situation, making bleeding events much more serious and potentially deadly.

Defendants Failed to Provide Adequate Warnings

As in other Xarelto lawsuits, this one highlights the fact that the manufacturers didn’t do enough to warn doctors and patient of the potential risks, particularly of the fact that there was no readily available antidote for Xarelto bleeding. “Defendants merely indicated that there was a risk for bleeding and side-stepped the important issue of reversing the effects of Xarelto should a bleed occur,” the plaintiff states in his complaint.

He brings claims for failure to warn, defective design, negligence, negligent design, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranties, and fraud. He seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.

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    Like this gentleman, I lost my mother and I believe her passing was directly related to her use of Xarelto. I have filed a suit as well.