I mentioned the Xarelto litigation briefly, but more needs to be said on this litigation. Currently, there are approximately 14,000 individual Xarelto cases consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The cases are part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) as ordered by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. MDL is a consolidation of civil cases transferred from different jurisdictions around the country to a single United States District Court to achieve certain pre-trial efficiencies. The aim of this consolidation is to preserve judicial resources, eliminate duplicities in the fact-finding process, and prevent inconsistencies in pre-trial rulings. In addition to the numerous claims before Judge Fallon in the MDL, claims involving Xarelto are pending in Pennsylvania and California state courts.

Xarelto, a blood thinner developed by Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Bayer Corp., was initially approved in 2011 to reduce the risk of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE) following knee and hip replacement surgery. It was later approved to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, and to prevent the occurrence of blood clots in patients with DVT and PE. When Xarelto was first released on the market, the manufacturers advertised the drug as being the “first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner” that was proven to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem that didn’t require routine blood monitoring.

Whereas patients taking warfarin, the leading anticoagulant for decades, must undergo regular blood monitoring to be sure the dose is correct, patients taking Xarelto were told they didn’t have to do that. Instead, they had only to take the drug once a day with their evening meal. This was extremely appealing to both doctors and patients and prescriptions of Xarelto skyrocketed. However, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer failed to warn doctors and the FDA that in clinical trials, patients taking Xarelto had more gastrointestinal bleeds and needed more transfusions than those taking warfarin.

On Jan. 30, 2017, Judge Fallon entered Case Management Order 2D, which postponed each of the previously scheduled bellwether trials by one month due to ongoing discovery. The first trial involving Plaintiff Joseph Boudreaux is set to begin on April 24, 2017, in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Plaintiff Joseph Boudreaux will argue that he started taking Xarelto to control his atrial fibrillation in January 2014 and less than a month later was hospitalized for dangerous gastrointestinal bleeding requiring multiple blood transfusions. The second bellwether trial involving Plaintiff Joseph Orr, Jr. is set to begin on May 30, 2017, in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Lawyers in our Mass Torts Section are currently taking cases involving serious injuries or death related to Xarelto use. For more information, contact Andy Birchfield, David Byrne, Beau Darley or Melissa Prickett at 800-898-2034 or by email at Andy.Birchfield@beasleyallen.com, David.Byrne@beaselyallen.com, Beau.Darley@beasleyallen.com or Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com.

Sources: Case Management Order No. 2D, In re: Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2592 (E.D. La. Jan. 30, 2017) and The Legal Examiner



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