Throughout the country, thousands of people were elated to hear the news that the first Xarelto trial to go to court in Philadelphia ended with a favorable verdict for the plaintiff.
Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson To Pay
The first of nearly 1,400 Xarelto lawsuits to be tried in a Philadelphia court was filed by a woman who was prescribed the blood thinner in 2013 to treat atrial fibrillation. She took the drug for nearly a year but then in June of 2014 she became very ill.
She was hospitalized with severe gastrointestinal bleeding and hospitalized.
She alleged that the bleed was caused by Xarelto and that the drug companies knew that there were dangerous side effects associated with the drug but failed to warn the medical community and public.
Her trial started and November 6th, 2017 and one month later she got the news she had been waiting to hear – the judge agreed with her. She was awarded $27.8 million – $1.8 million in compensation and $26 million in punitive damages.
This is the first defeat for Bayer Inc. and Johnson and Johnson, who have already won several cases in a Louisiana court, and a significant loss. A representative for Johnson & Johnson has announced that they will be filing an appeal.
Nearly 20,000 More Xarelto Cases Awaiting Trial
Overall there are around 18,500 lawsuits consolidated in MDL 2592 which will be tried in the Eastern District of Louisiana in addition to those filed in Philadelphia. In each complaint, a plaintiff is alleging that the blood thinner caused them serious harm.
Xarelto, which was approved by the FDA in 2011 became one of the most popular blood thinners by 2012 for one main reason – the drug is essentially a “one size fits all”, meaning that the amount prescribed would be the same for each patient regardless of their age, weight, diet, and physical activity. This was highly sought after because when a patient is on an older blood thinner like Warfarin, they must return to their doctor for testing frequently, sometimes as often as once a week, to be sure their dosage is correct.
What physicians and their patients didn’t know was that there are some serious risks associated with taking the drug.
Xarelto Side Effects Could Be Deadly
The side effects that are being named in the thousands of lawsuits include:
- GI Bleeds
- Brain Bleeds
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Spinal Bleeding
- Rectal Bleeding
- Liver Dysfunction
In addition to this, the drug reacts poorly when mixed with certain other medications and it doesn’t have an antidote.
When a drug doesn’t have an antidote, doctors are unable to reverse the effects that it has on the body. In the case of Xarelto, this means that if a patient starts bleeding, doctors can do nothing to encourage the blood to clot which means there is a very real chance that they may bleed out and die. The only way that doctors might be able to prevent this is to perform a blood transfusion and even that may not happen quickly enough.
The treatments for these side effects are intense and expensive and if the patient survives, they may be left with permanent damage that can impact their quality of life.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages, sometimes known as exemplary damages, are awarded when the court believes that the defendant should be deterred from engaging in similar conduct. In this case, the court likely wanted to let the pharmaceutical giants know that in the future they should inform patients and doctors of all of the risks associated with medications that they produce.
Can A Xarelto Lawsuit Still Be Filed?
Yes. It may still be possible for those who believe they were harmed by Xarelto to file a lawsuit. There are, however, time limits called the statute of limitations which is why it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
How Long Will The Legal Process Take?
The legal process is never a short one but for good reason – it frequently takes time to build a case and collect the evidence needed to support the claim. But this should never deter someone from pursuing justice – in fact, a lawsuit is likely the only way to obtain compensation.
Our experienced lawyers will support you during this time and answer all the questions you and your loved ones have.