When the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federal Xarelto lawsuits before a judge in Louisiana, there were approximately fifty cases pending. That was in December 2014. Just over six months later, that number has grown eightfold; currently, there are more than 400 Xarelto lawsuits against Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Originally, Janssen – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – pushed to have the cases heard in New Jersey, where its parent company is domiciled. Defense lawyers also argued that the cases had different causes of action, since physicians prescribe Xarelto for different conditions (clot prevention for joint replacement patients, and reduction of stroke risk for those with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia).
Plaintiffs allege that Bayer and Janssen were negligent in their warnings about the potentially life-threatening side effects of Xarelto. More specifically, the manufacturers either willfully or negligently engaged in deceptive advertising: promotional materials claimed that only standard dosage was required for all patients. Normally, with standard anticoagulant medications, blood monitoring and testing are required in order to adjust the dosage based on the amount of clotting agent in the patient's bloodstream. Physicians were told that when it came to Xarelto, they could essentially take a “one size fits all” approach (there are actually two dosages available).
Recent medical research (February 2014 and March 2015) has found this to be inaccurate. Contrary to Bayer's claims, it turns out that a patient's risk of fatal hemorrhaging is closely connected to the amount of the drug in the system.
Meanwhile, Bayer continues to aggressively promote Xarelto, while at the same time doing its own research into additional indications in order to expand its customer base. This week (June 20th - 25th 2015), Bayer will be presenting “new clinical data” on Xarelto to the 27th Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Toronto. Recent studies (sponsored by Bayer and Janssen) have explored the use of Xarelto in blood clot prevention in cancer patients as well as those undergoing a heart procedure known as catheter ablation (used to remove abnormal tissue around the heart muscle). The presentations in Toronto will focus on the former. According to a story on the website RTTNews.com, the study on cancer patients, CALLISTO “will explore the potential benefits of rivaroxaban for the prevention and treatment of pulmonary embolism or PE and deep vein thrombosis or DVT in patients with various types of cancer.”
For more information on the Xarelto litigation, visit Levin Papantonio’s Xarelto Lawsuit web page.