As the Xarelto bellwether trials set for March 13th, 2017 rapidly approach, many are wondering what the outcome of the thousands of lawsuits filed will ultimately be.
How Many Xarelto Lawsuits Are There?
So far, more than 14,400 complaints have been consolidated under MDL 2592 in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The honorable Judge Eldon Fallon will be overseeing these claims. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, more than 1,000 complaints are waiting to be reviewed in a mass tort program.
In every single case, a plaintiff is either a patient who was prescribed Xarelto and is claiming that the drug harmed them and that as a result they suffered losses or the loved one of a patient who they claimed died because of the blood thinner.
The harm that these plaintiffs are alleging come in the form of the drugs potential life-threatening side effects. Those noted in the lawsuits include:
If a patient falls or is an accident which causes bleeding around the spine while on Xarelto, the use of the blood thinner can prevent the body from clotting the blood. As a result, pooling can occur around the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis.
Even when the body is able to clot the blood normally, a brain bleed can be extremely dangerous. Remove the ability to clot and the patient may suffer from brain swelling, brain damage, seizures, and death.
The GI tract is made up of multiple organs and internal bleeding can cause vomiting blood and blood pooling that can cut off the blood supply to vital organs and cause tissue death.
When a patient has a blood clot, it can travel into the lungs where it eventually becomes lodged, cutting off blood flow to part of the lung. If Xarelto is discontinued too quickly, this life-threatening medical condition is possible.
Use of Xarelto has been linked to cases of hepatitis which was communicated to the medical community and public in a warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What Do Plaintiffs Hope To Gain?
Although the financial and personal losses sustained by each plaintiff are different, they are all looking for compensation for those losses. This includes full reimbursement for:
- Medical Expenses
- Physical Pain
- Emotional Trauma
- Lost Wages
In the cases where a loved one is alleging a wrongful death occurred because of the blood thinner, the plaintiff may also seek to recover compensation for:
- Loss Of Consortium
- Funeral & Burial Expenses
Given the number of plaintiffs, if the courts award damages, Johnson & Johnson could be made to pay out quite a bit. This isn’t the only defective drug or device lawsuit the company has faced – in 2016 alone, the manufacturer lost a Risperdal trial and was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages to six plaintiffs regarding complaints about the Pinnacle hip implant.
More Lawsuits Anticipated
Since the first Xarelto lawsuit was filed in December of 2014 under case number 2:14-cv-02720, the number of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson has steadily grown and is expected to continue growing.
Many of the plaintiffs hope that by filing, they will bring awareness to the manner in which the FDA tests and reviews drugs as they believe that a recall should have been issued long ago.
The FDA’s Many Warnings
Although Xarelto was only approved in 2011, in the few short years that it has been on the market, doctors and patients have questioned how safe the drug actually is. In fact, the FDA has issued:
- A black box warning – In August of 2013, the first black box warning regarding Xarelto was issued, which informed doctors that patients who were taken off of the drug too quickly were at risk for forming blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, and spinal hematoma.
- A general warning – In January of 2014, the administration warned that there is no antidote available for Xarelto – meaning that if a patient started bleeding, doctors have no way of reverse the blood thinners effects on the blood in order to encourage clotting, therefore increasing the risk that a patient may bleed to death.
- A second black box warning – In March of 2014, the FDA recommended that patients who knew they were going to be undergoing a medical procedure on the spine discontinue Xarelto due to the risk of additional injury.
- Adverse Reaction report – This report indicated that use of the blood thinner may cause thrombocytopenia, which is a low platelet count in the blood. This medical condition can cause severe internal bleeding.