Popular blood thinner Xarelto (a Bayer and Johnson & Johnson product) had record sales of $1.4 billion in 2013 alone. One of the best-selling blood thinners on the market, Xarelto is one of four physician “go-to” medications to prevent strokes—but that may not be the case for much longer. In 2014, the first lawsuit alleging that Xarelto was the cause of a patient’s death was filed, with many more to follow. Now, because of the number of active claims, the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania ordered all Xarelto lawsuits consolidated in Philadelphia under a Mass Tort program.
What Does Having Thousands of Xarelto Lawsuits Consolidated Mean for Plaintiffs?
The number of suits filed against Xarelto’s manufacturers (Bayer and Johnson & Johnson) necessitated a mass tort program. With what started as more than 620 cases initially, the consolidation of cases brought in another 2,800 Xarelto lawsuits. Together, the mass tort program exceeds 3,400 lawsuits, all of which express similar concerns about the drug.
The need to shift to mass tort litigation occurs when there are a large number of filings against one defendant (in this case, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson). Most often, mass tort claims are brought in when consumers (or patients in this case) are injured on a large scale by defective products or drugs. Because drugs especially, can cause a variety of adverse reactions for different individuals, they rarely fit into a single class. That lack of hegemony among the different cases is why a mass tort is used rather than a class action.
In a mass tort, one attorney (or group of attorneys) represent multiple injured parties for their respective claims. The investigation, evidence, and witnesses can all be shared among the cases involved. Beyond the attorneys, a group of lawyers nationwide can pool their resources, information, and ideas. By doing so, they guarantee that all individuals receive fair settlements.
Complaints in the Xarelto Lawsuits Consolidated Via Mass Tort
The complaints listed in various Xarelto lawsuits consolidated under one Mass Tort litigation all share very similar characteristics. The majority claim that the anticoagulant puts patients at a heightened risk for dangerous bleeding episodes that may come on suddenly and which sometimes, prove fatal. Most blood thinners have this risk, though, at least all of the top four on the market (Eliquis, Pradaxa, Savaysa and Xarelto). But Xarelto has one characteristic that sets it apart from the others, making it far more dangerous for those with a bleeding risk.
There is no Xarelto antidote. Traditional blood thinners are released with a corresponding antidote. The most common antidote is Vitamin K. This is important, because if a patient were using one of these traditional blood thinners and became injured, or began to bleed internally, an antidote capable of counteracting the blood thinner was available. When using Xarelto, however, it is difficult or impossible to control the effects of the medicine during a major bleed, making even minor injuries or bleeds incredibly dangerous.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has attempted to keep abreast of this situation. In 2011, the drug was released to the market with approval from the FDA. Since that time, however, the FDA has given two Xarelto warnings known as “black-box” warnings. They state on their website that, “This type of warning . . . appears on a prescription drug’s label and is designed to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks.” It is also the most severe warning a product can receive before being pulled completely from the market.
In both black-box warnings, the FDA states that there is the risk of bleeding and that patients should “evaluate any signs of symptoms of blood loss and consider the need for blood replacement.” Xarelto is the only one of the four most commonly prescribed blood thinners without an antidote, which means that there has been little incentive to find a way to reverse the drug’s effects that can cause extreme blood loss. Hemorrhaging while on Xarelto can lead to anemia or even death.
If you or a loved one have been harmed or injured by taking Xarelto, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Get a free Xarelto case evaluation today to see if you may qualify.