January 22, 2015 — About 75 lawsuits involving Xarelto will be consolidated in a mass-tort in Pennsylvania.
Judge Kevin Dougherty of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ordered the centralization of cases for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Attorneys for Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Xarelto, argued that centralization in Philadelphia was inappropriate because most plaintiffs are out-of-state and the companies are headquartered in New Jersey.
The mass-tort is very similar to a centralized at the federal level in Louisiana. As of January 15, Bayer was also facing 86 Xarelto lawsuits in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2582) under U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
Unless a settlement or other resolution is achieved, lawyers will select “bellwether” cases to go to trial at the state and federal level. The jury’s decision in the trial will help lawyers dismiss or settle remaining cases while avoiding the time and expense of trials in every lawsuit.
Lawsuits accuse Bayer and Janssen of downplaying Xarelto’s bleeding risks, including uncontrollable bleeding that cannot be reversed in an emergency. The drug-makers are also accused of promoting Xarelto as superior to warfarin by indicating it is easier to use and does not need routine blood tests.
However, recent studies have suggested that many high-risk patients would benefit from routine blood-tests. These tests could detect when Xarelto concentrations are too high, which could help reduce the risk of severe bleeding.
Janssen and Bayer are also accused of failing to warn about Xarelto’s lack of a reversal agent. Although a small drug-maker may have recently discovered an antidote, when Xarelto hit the market in 2011 doctors had no effective way of de-activating it in patients who were injured or needed unexpected surgery.
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