March 26, 2015 — Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit have been hit with over 300 lawsuits involving uncontrollable bleeding from Xarelto.
Most recently, a lawsuit was filed by the son of a man from Tennessee who started taking Xarelto in November 2012.
Xarelto, a blood-thinner, was prescribed to prevent strokes associated with atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heart rhythm. Less than six months later, in March 2013, Mr. Julien died from uncontrollable bleeding.
The lawsuit was filed on March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where at least 311 similar lawsuits involving Xarelto have been centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2592).
“Xarelto® is unreasonably dangerous and defective as formulated putting consumers, including Decedent, at an unreasonable risk of suffering needless injuries and death. Defendants … withheld the knowledge of increased risk of irreversible bleeds in users of Xarelto® to prevent any chances of their product’s registrations being delayed or rejected by FDA.”
Xarelto is that it inhibits blood-clotting, which is good for preventing strokes but bad for patients who need blood clots to stop bleeding. Unlike older blood-thinners, such as warfarin, Xarelto lacks an effective reversal agent to counteract its effects. Not even dialysis can remove it from a patient’s bloodstream.
In an emergency, doctors might struggle to de-activate Xarelto. By the time a patient is able to form life-saving blood clots, it may be too late. Drug-makers are accused of downplaying this risk information, putting corporate profits above public safety.