There are now 1,343 Xarelto lawsuits at the state level in Philadelphia, plus another 15,611 federal lawsuits in Louisiana. All of the lawsuits involve people who experienced severe bleeding after taking Xarelto.
The federal lawsuits are centralized in (MDL No. 2592) under U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in Louisiana. The MDL process uses “bellwether” trials to help lawyers determine how a jury might respond to evidence and gauge the settlement value of similar lawsuits.
The first Xarelto bellwether trial will be located in Louisiana. The plaintiff, Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., used Xarelto for about a month before he developed internal bleeding. He required hospitalization and several blood transfusions (Case No. 2:14-cv-02720)
The second trial will also be in Louisiana. The plaintiff, Joseph Orr, is the husband of a woman who died of a cerebral hemorrhage, or uncontrollable bleeding in the brain, after taking Xarelto for one month (Case No. 2:15-cv-03708).
Two more trials will be scheduled in June 2017. The third trial will be located in in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and it will involve Dora Mingo, a woman who suffered gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto to prevent blood clots.
The fourth trial will involve William Henry, a man who died of gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto for atrial fibrillation. The trial will be located in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are accused of downplaying the risk of bleeding and aggressively marketing Xarelto in the race to replace Coumadin (warfarin).
Warfarin was approved in the 1950s and it was the standard of care for decades. Warfarin is de-activated with a dose of Vitamin K, but patients can’t eat any foods that contain Vitamin K or warfarin will not work.
The FDA started approving a new generation of blood-thinning drugs in 2010, starting with Pradaxa (dabigatran) and followed by Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in 2011. At the time, neither drug had any type of reversal agent to de-activate their blood-thinning effects in an emergency.
Primary care doctors found these new drugs attractive because they were easy for patients to take, but emergency room doctors struggled to stop bleeding. As a result, many people died from minor bumps on the head or uncontrollable bleeding in the intestines.
Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of Pradaxa, was hit with about 4,000 lawsuits from people who were injured or died from bleeding. Just before the first bellwether trials were about to begin, the company paid a $650 million settlement, for an average per-case payout of $162,500.