Drug-Makers Oppose Centralization for 50 Xarelto LawsuitsDecember 5, 2014 — Bloomberg reports that Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson are fighting efforts to centralize lawsuits involving the blood-thinner Xarelto in one federal court.

At least 50 lawsuits involving Xarelto have been filed in 15 federal courts. Lawyers for plaintiffs say centralizing the litigation would improve efficiency, reduce the risk of conflicting rulings, and help expedite a resolution through the “bellwether” trial process.

This week, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will hear oral arguments to consolidate all federal Xarelto lawsuits under one judge, similar to a class action. If they agree, the number of lawsuits could increase because it will be easier for plaintiffs to join the litigation.

Plaintiffs accuse the drug-makers of downplaying evidence linking Xarelto with severe bleeding, alleging that 65 deaths have been linked to the drug. In addition, Xarelto has no antidote to reverse its blood-thinning effects, which might increase a user’s risk of injury in an emergency.

Lawyers have asked to centralize the litigation in a federal court in Illinois, under U.S. District Judge David Herndon. He oversaw a similar litigation involving Pradaxa, which ended in a $650 million settlement for more than 4,000 lawsuits.

Bayer and Johnson & Johnson do not want the litigation centralized, but said if consolidation is ordered, they want the cases sent to a New Jersey federal court. Both drug-makers are headquartered in the state. Bayer produces the drug, and Johnson & Johnson owns the marketing rights in the United States.

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