January 22, 2015 — An administrative judge has ordered that 75 lawsuits involving the blood-thinning drug Xarelto will be centralized in a mass-tort in Philadelphia.
Attorneys for Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the co-manufacturers of Xarelto, argued that centralization was not appropriate because both companies are headquartered in New Jersey and most plaintiffs are out-of-state.
However, Judge Kevin Dougherty disagreed, ordering the lawsuits centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Meanwhile, about 86 federal Xarelto lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2582) is overseen by Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
As the litigation proceeds, it is likely that attorneys will select certain cases for “bellwether” trials at the state and federal level. If the jury decides to award compensation, it could help expedite settlements for people with similar injuries.
Members of this growing litigation accuse Bayer and Janssen of misleading patients and doctors about the safety and risks of Xarelto. They claim Xarelto was promoted as superior to warfarin because it does not require routine blood-tests, but recent studies have found that many high-risk patients would benefit from blood-tests if they are taking Xarelto.
Like all blood-thinners, bleeding is the most serious risk associated with Xarelto. Lawsuits also accuse Bayer and Janssen of downplaying Xarelto’s bleeding risks, including uncontrollable bleeding that cannot be reversed because Xarelto has no effective reversal agent. In comparison, warfarin can be reversed with a dose of Vitamin K.