December 5, 2014 — Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson, the drug-makers responsible for Xarelto, are resisting demands to centralize 50 lawsuits into one federal court, according to Bloomberg.
Members of the growing litigation say Xarelto causes severe bleeding, citing at least 65 deaths since the drug was approved in 2011. In addition, Xarelto lacks an antidote, which might increase a user’s risk of uncontrollable bleeding in an emergency. The lawsuits are pending in 15 federal courts across the nation.
This week, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) heard oral arguments for centralizing the lawsuits into one federal court, under one judge, similar to a class action.
If the lawsuits are centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL), the number of cases could grow dramatically. Centralizing the lawsuits would also improve efficiency and convenience for witness, reduce the risk of conflicting rulings, and help expedite a settlement or other resolution through “bellwether” trials.
Plaintiffs are requesting the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, where Judge David Herndon presides. Earlier this year, Judge Herndon approved a $650 million settlement for more than 4,000 people who were injured by Pradaxa (dabigatran), a blood-thinning medication very similar to Xarelto.
Bayer and Johnson & Johnson oppose coordination of the lawsuits. If coordination is ordered, they requested it be located in New Jersey, where both companies are headquartered. Xarelto is manufactured by Bayer and marketed in the United States by Johnson & Johnson.