The plaintiff, Lynn Hartman, was prescribed Xarelto (rivaroxaban) to prevent blood clots from causing a stroke. Instead, she developed severe bleeding in her intestines.
The jury awarded her $1.8 million in compensation, plus $26 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and Bayer.
Hartman’s attorney said the verdict was overturned on a “narrow issue” related to the doctor who prescribed Xarelto — not based on the safety of Xarelto.
Xarelto was approved in 2011 to prevent blood clots in people with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or to prevent blood clots from returning in people with a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation.
Xarelto is competing with warfarin, a blood-thinner that has been on the market since the 1950s. The difference is that Xarelto currently lacks a reversal agent, which means that bleeding can be very difficult to stop when it occurs.
Like all blood-thinners, bleeding is the most common side effect of Xarelto. Unlike Xarelto, warfarin is easily reversed with Vitamin K.
Lawyers accuse the manufacturers of Xarelto of failing to adequately warn patients about the bleeding risks they faced from taking the drug.
Approximately 20,000 federal lawsuits have been filed by people who experienced severe bleeding after taking Xarelto. The lawsuits are centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in Louisiana.
Another 1,400 lawsuits have been centralized in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where Lynn Hartman’s case went to trial.