MONTGOMERY, ALA. (February 10, 2015) – Andy D. Birchfield, Jr., Principal & Mass Torts Section Head at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has been named Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding blood thinner medication Xarelto. He was appointed by U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing the MDL in United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. Nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corp. were consolidated in Louisiana federal court in December. Xarelto has been linked to serious side effects including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleed and death.

“This is important litigation involving very serious injuries to thousands of individuals. Judge Fallon has appointed a group of excellent lawyers to serve on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, and I am honored to be in a leadership position. Together, we look forward to advancing the cause of those injured by this prescription drug,” Birchfield said.

Xarelto is a novel oral anticoagulant approved in the United States for six indications including reducing the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation; treating deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and reducing the recurrence of these conditions; and preventing blood clots in patients following knee or hip replacement surgery. The Xarelto lawsuits follow a recent $650 million settlement related to another blood-thinning drug, Pradaxa, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. Pradaxa was linked to more than 500 bleeding deaths.

Judge Fallon presided over litigation against Merck & Co. related to its painkiller Vioxx. Birchfield was chosen as Co-Lead Counsel for the Vioxx Litigation MDL PSC in 2005. He was lead counsel or co-lead counsel in five Vioxx trials, including one that resulted in a $51 million verdict against Merck. In 2007, Merck agreed to a $4.85 billion settlement for Vioxx litigation.

The case is In Re: Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigaiton, Case 2:14-md-02592-EEF-MBN.

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