Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Xarelto Blood Thinner Lawsuits Consolidated in Louisiana Federal Court

Patients Allege Xarelto Linked to Serious Bleeding Risk

Wendy R. Fleishman of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced today that nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corp. over the blood thinner Xarelto have been consolidated in Louisiana federal court. The U.S. Judiciary Panel on Multidistrict Litigation found that the cases have enough common complaints to warrant centralization. Xarelto has been linked to serious side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleeding, other internal bleeds, and death.

Defendants opposed centralization. They unsuccessfully argued that there were too many discrepancies in patients’ medical histories and drug dosages to justify consolidating the lawsuits. However, the federal judges comprising the panel found that the lawsuits posed similar factual issues, including whether the drug’s label adequately warned of the risks of severe bleeding.

Xarelto is in the same class of drugs as Pradaxa, which was also the subject of multi-district litigation. Many authorities claim that these New Oral AntiCoagulants (“NOACs”) require additional measures to be safe for the patients because these drugs are blood thinners. The manufacturers contend that patients given NOACs do not require blood tests to monitor the effect of the blood thinner, while plaintiffs in the Xarelto lawsuits alleged that patients given NOACs like Xarelto should be monitored in order to avoid bleeding episodes. Unlike the generic drug Warfarin, Xarelto’s bleeding episodes are not reversible and can be fatal.

Xarelto is a much more popular drug than Pradaxa and was thus used by many more patients. The Xarelto lawsuits follow the recent settlement of more than 4,000 Pradaxa cases for $650 million. The claims in that case linked Pradaxa to more than 500 deaths.

Xarelto is a novel oral anticoagulant approved in the United States for six indications including reducing the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation; treating deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and reducing the reoccurrence of these conditions; and preventing blood clots in patients following knee or hip replacement surgery.

Xarelto carries a black box warning for an increased risk of blood clots with premature discontinuation of therapy and a risk of epidural or spinal hematomas resulting in long-term or permanent paralysis in patients treated with Xarelto receiving neuraxial anesthesia or undergoing spinal puncture. Black box warnings are the most serious type of warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are reserved for drugs that carry a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects.

Xarelto blood thinner litigation has been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana, who, in 2007, presided over suits against Merck & Co. over its medication Vioxx. The Vioxx litigation resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement.

Contact Lieff Cabraser

If you or a family member have taken Xarelto and suffered a bleeding injury, please contact Lieff Cabraser for a free and confidential evaluation of your Xarelto case. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case. You are also welcome to call us toll-free at 1 800-541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Paulina do Amaral.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser has played a leading role in many of the largest, most important personal injury law and wrongful death lawsuits in the U.S. over the past four decades. We are experienced injury trial lawyers that represent only plaintiffs. Many of our attorneys have been recognized by national and state publications as leading personal injury attorneys. The National Law Journal has repeatedly selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs’ law firms in the nation. U.S. News and Best Lawyers has recognized our personal injury lawyers and firm as the nation’s Law Firm of the Year in the category of Mass Torts and Plaintiffs’ Class Action for four separate years, including 2014.

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Wendy Fleishman
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
212 355-9500