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Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
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Xarelto Lawsuits Increasing Across the Country

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Federal Xarelto lawsuits were consolidated into the Eastern District of Louisiana in December 2014. Since then, the number of Xarelto lawsuits filed has continued to increase. In the first week of August 2015, nearly 200 cases joined the MDL bundled together as four different lawsuits. That brings the nationwide total to about 1,200 cases.

All plaintiffs claim to have suffered serious side effects after taking Xarelto, a blood thinner or “anti-coagulant.” These included excessive gastrointestinal bleeding, brain hemorrhaging, and bleeding leading to death.

Parties Working on Deposition and State/Federal Coordination

Judge Eldon Fallon is overseeing the Xarelto MDL. The parties are currently involved in choosing cases that may end up being part of the final group of “bellwether” trials. These are early trials meant to gauge how juries will react to the evidence, and to potentially set the stage for future settlement negotiations.

According to a joint report filed July 30, 2015, the parties were planning to discuss with the court matters like deadlines for fact sheets, the preservation of voicemail and text messages, discovery matters, deposition guidelines, the bundling of complaints, and state/federal coordination of cases at the August 4, 2015 status conference.

After August 4, 2015, the next status conference is scheduled for September 17, 2015.

Xarelto Advertised as Being a Better Alternative to Warfarin

The FDA approved Xarelto for the prevention of blood clots in patients going through knee and hip replacement surgery in July 2011. Later, in 2012, they also approved it for reducing the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Xarelto is one of the “new-generation” blood thinners, meant to be more convenient than warfarin, the leading anti-coagulant for decades. Patients taking Xarelto enjoy a convenient once-daily dose and don’t have to undergo blood monitoring or change their diets, like those taking warfarin do.

Manufacturers Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer AG advertised the drug as being a better alternative to warfarin, but failed to highlight the risks, which included a potential increased risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, and a lack of a readily available antidote. Patients taking warfarin who suffer from excessive bleeding can be treated with vitamin K injections, but there is no such treatment for those on Xarelto, making bleeding events much more dangerous and potentially deadly.

The FDA sent the manufacturers a warning letter in 2013, stating that the Xarelto advertisement on WebMD was false and misleading, as it minimized risks and made misleading claims.

Studies Show Patients at Risk with Xarelto

In a recent study involving nearly 50,000 participants and published in the British Medical Journal, researchers stated that they could not rule out a “more than twofold higher risk of bleeding with rivaroxaban compared with warfarin.”

Other studies have raised concerns about the lack of blood monitoring that patients on Xarelto receive. In 2015, researchers published a study in Cardiology noting that some Japanese patients could benefit from blood monitoring, since their blood reacted more strongly to the drug (“thinning” more), increasing risk of dangerous bleeding. Another study the same year noted that patients over the age of 75 were also more vulnerable to bleeding risks with Xarelto than with warfarin.