On May 3, 2017, a jury in New Orleans found in favor of the manufacturers of the blood thinner Xarelto in a lawsuit that Joseph Boudreaux filed against Bayer AG, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson after Mr. Boudreaux’s was hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding that required multiple blood transfusions. The Boudreaux case was based on a failure to warn theory, where the plaintiff alleged that the manufacturers of the drug did not adequately warn him about the dangers and risks of Xarelto. The defense of the case was based on the learned intermediary doctrine, which allows a drug manufacturer to warn a medical professional about the dangers of a drug rather than to the patient directly.
On June 12, 2017, the drug manufacturers won a second bellwether case based on the death of Sharyn Orr, who died after suffering from hemorrhaging in her brain after taking Xarelto. Ms. Orr required surgery, but her doctor did not operate because Xarelto was still in her system; by the time she could have the surgery, it was too late, and Ms. Orr passed away. The plaintiff’s lawyers alleged that the drug manufacturers not only failed to adequately warn Ms. Orr and her doctors, they also failed to create a monitoring plan and properly instruct doctors to conduct a blood test that would allow them to predict which patients are most susceptible to internal bleeding from taking Xarelto.
The Boudreaux and Orr cases are just two out of 40 or so “bellwether” trials (test trials that are conducted to help determine value where there are a heavy volume of similarly based cases, typically in multidistrict litigation that is scheduled in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation. Thus, there is still hope that plaintiffs will win some of the future Xarelto cases. There are currently 18,000 or so Xarelto claims pending, and the results of the bellwether trials will help shape the future of the claims process.
Xarelto is an anticoagulant drug that is often prescribed to prevent pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and other serious conditions. Patients who have taken Xarelto have experienced internal hemorrhaging leading to serious injuries or even death. Unlike other anticoagulant medications (for example, vitamin K may be used to stop bleeding where the patient is taking Coumadin), there is no way to stop internal bleeding, so a patient who is taking Xarelto and experiencing internal bleeding has to wait until the body stops bleeding on its own.
The sale of Xarelto has generated billions of dollars for drug companies. In the first quarter of 2017, increased sales of Xarelto in Europe and Japan helped Bayer post a 9.6% rise in revenue. Interestingly, Johnson & Johnson announced sales of Xarelto in the U.S. decreased by 9.5% in the first quarter of 2017 (it was still $513 million) and was due to discounting. It does not look like Xarelto is going to be taken off of the market, despite its dangers!
The attorneys at Betty Davis Law are still evaluating, investigating, and accepting Xarelto cases where patients have experienced severe internal bleeding (gastrointestinal, rectal, and brain bleed) or even death. Our firm has filed multiple lawsuits against Bayer AG, Janssen, and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of patients who took Xarelto. If you or a loved one has been hospitalized from the deadly side effects of Xarelto, please call (404) 647-0722.