In August of 2016, Judge Eldon E. Fallon announced that he had randomly selected the first Xarelto cases that would go to trial, the first of which is scheduled for March 13th, 2017.
The First Case
The first lawsuit to be tried was filed in December of 2014 under case number 2:14-cv-02720 by a man who believed he had suffered serious side effects after being prescribed the blood thinner Xarelto.
He and his doctors had decided to begin the medication when it was determined that he was at risk for the formation of embolisms and stroke. In less than a month, he was rushed to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with internal bleeding in his GI tract. Due to the fact that he had taken Xarelto, doctors were unable to slow the bleeding through medication and were instead forced to administer several blood transfusions. Luckily, the transfusions worked and save his life.
The plaintiff alleges that the manufacturers of Xarelto failed to warn patients of the risks associated with taking the drug, most importantly the fact that the drug does not have an antidote.
What Is An Antidote?
An antidote is a drug or natural product which can reverse the effects that a medication has on the body. While this might sound counter intuitive, when it comes to blood thinners, an antidote can be the difference between life and death.
For example, older blood thinners like Warfarin have an antidote – Vitamin K. When a patient begins to unexpectedly bleed either internally or externally, doctors administer Vitamin K which encourages the blood to clot. Xarelto does not respond to Vitamin K and has no FDA approved antidote at this time.
A pharmaceutical company, Portola Pharmaceuticals, did attempt to have the antidote they manufactured approved by the FDA but the administration did not grant their approval and instead requested additional information on how the drug is manufactured. The company does have the option of submitting their application once the missing information has been provided, however, this doesn’t guarantee approval.
Xarelto Lawsuits Number Continue To Grow
Currently, there are more than 11,000 lawsuits that are filed under MDL 2592. In each case, a plaintiff is alleging that Xarelto caused a medical condition which either seriously harmed or killed a patient. The most commonly claimed side effects include:
- GI Bleeds
- Brain Bleeds
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Spinal Hematoma
- Liver Dysfunction
Plaintiffs are seeking to obtain compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, and even emotional trauma.
How Much Can A Plaintiff Get?
This will vary from case to case. When determining how much to award a plaintiff, the court will review the specific circumstances and losses of that case, then calculate an appropriate sum.
What Is An MDL?
MDL stands for “multidistrict litigation” and is a consolidation of all federally-filed lawsuits which have similar questions of fact about a specific issue. For example, in MDL 2592, plaintiffs all have similar questions of fact, such as:
- Did Xarelto cause unnecessary harm to a patient?
- Did a patient suffer losses because of the harm sustained?
- Did the manufacturer know, or should they have known, about the potential side effects?
- Did the manufacturer do everything in their power to warn the medical community and public about the potential risks?
Only the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation can form an MDL and when they do, the purpose is to save all parties involved time and money. Each case is transferred to a single court under one judge. MDL 2592 was moved to the Eastern District of Louisiana to be overseen by District Judge Eldon Fallon.
Will All Cases Go To Trial?
No, not every case will go to trial. In most personal injury cases, a settlement offer is accepted by the plaintiff. In fact, it is likely that throughout the litigation process, the defendant will propose various offers, which the plaintiff’s legal team with discuss with them. If an offer is not accepted, however, the case will proceed to trial.