A judge in the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 22 established a mass tort program to handle Xarelto lawsuits, in which the plaintiffs are suing drug manufacturer Janssen and other defendants.
The victims of Xarelto generally assert that the blood thinner posed an unreasonable risk about which the defendants failed to properly warn, resulting in serious injury and, in some cases, death. The drug is alleged to be linked to uncontrollable bleeding.
Under the mass tort program, the results of any investigations found by a plaintiffs' attorney can be shared among all of the cases in the program.
Ironically, a federal panel of judges in Washington already created in December 2014 a similar grouping that involves federal Xarelto lawsuits. As of Jan. 25, there were 86 Xarelto lawsuits centralized before U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation wrote in an order that created the multidistrict litigation court in Louisiana: "These actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that plaintiffs suffered severe bleeding or other injuries as a result of taking Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and that defendants did not adequately warn prescribing physicians or consumers of the risks associated with Xarelto, including the potential for severe or fatal bleeding and the unavailability of a reversal agent to counteract Xarelto's anticoagulation effects.
"Issues concerning the development, manufacture, regulatory approval, labeling, and marketing of Xarelto thus are common to all actions. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary."
Xarelto is intended to serve three FDA-approved purposes:
- To reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, and pulmonary embolism, or PE, that might occur following knee replacement or hip replacement surgery
- To actually treat DVT and PE and to reduce their recurrence following initial treatment
- To reduce the risk of stroke in people who have a type of abnormal heart rhythm called non-valvular atrial fibrillation
Plaintiffs allege that there is a dark side to Xarelto and to its marketing. In the October 2014 brief in support of centralizing federal Xarelto lawsuits, plaintiffs argued that the manufacturer left health care providers in the dark as well as the patients. As their brief puts it, "sales representatives of Defendants provided promotional materials to prescribing physicians detailing that Xarelto is more convenient and as effective as warfarin in reducing strokes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, as well as preventing DVT/PE in patients with prior history of DVT/PE or after undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery; however, the prescribing physicians were not adequately informed of the lack of reversal agent and risks associated with Xarelto.
"Similarly, Defendants also failed to warn emergency room physicians, surgeons and other critical care medical professionals that there is no reversal agent for Xarelto - which is a dramatic departure from warfarin. Therefore, Xarelto treatment leaves trauma professionals without effective means to treat and stabilize patients who experience uncontrolled or excessive bleeding while taking Xarelto."
No matter where the case is filed, the Xarelto attorneys at Reich & Binstock are well-resourced and highly experienced in handling this type of litigation. Xarelto patients, who suffered severe bleeding after using the drug, or the family members of decedents, can count on the product liability attorneys at Reich & Binstock for thorough and skilled attention to their cases. Moreover, at Reich & Binstock, it costs nothing to determine whether there is a viable case; the consultation is free.
Holding accountable the manufacturers of unreasonably risky drugs is what Reich & Binstock has been doing for 30 years. Its attorneys have mass tort and multidistrict litigation experience that a victim or a victim's surviving loved ones can count on. The law firm operates in all 50 states.
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