Xarelto MDL Lawsuits Top 4,500 Cases Involving Bleeding Injuries
As parties involved in the federal Xarelto bleeding injury lawsuits are scheduled to meet today with the judge presiding over the coordinated pretrial proceedings, a new report suggests that the total number of cases pending in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) has recently topped 4,500.
Since December 2014, all product liability lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide over the bleeding side effects of Xarelto have been centralized for discovery and a series of early bellwether trials, which are designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout a large number of claims.
The MDL is consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in the cases, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
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According to a case list (PDF) released by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on April 15, there are currently at least 4,579 Xarelto MDL lawsuits pending before Judge Fallon, each involving similar allegations that the the makers of the novel oral anticoagulant failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the risk of uncontrollable bleeds.
In a joint status report (PDF) submitted on Monday, the parties outlined several issues that will be discussed with Judge Fallon during tomorrow’s case management conference, including issues surrounding discovery, depositions, preservation of certain data and the status of coordination efforts between the MDL and similar cases pending at the state court level.
Xarelto Bleeding Problems
Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) is a new-generation anticoagulant that was introduced in 2011 as a replacement for Coumadin (warfarin), which has been the go-to anticoagulant treatment for decades.
The drug is part of a new class of medications designed to avoid blood clots among individuals at risk for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, which have been promoted as easier to use than warfarin. However, since the drugs have hit the market, there have been a large number of reports involving severe and sometimes fatal bleeding problems with Xarelto and other members of this new class, including Pradaxa and Eliquis.
Each of the lawsuits involved in the Xarelto MDL raise nearly identical allegations, indicating that the drug carries a high risk of severe bleeds, and that information was withheld from the medical community about the lack of a safe and effective reversal agent for Xarleto to allow doctors to quickly stop the blood thinning effects of the drug.
While all blood thinners carry a risk of bleeding injury, the side effects of warfarin can be quickly reversed with a widely known antidote of bleeding occurs. However, there was no Xarelto reversal agent when the drug was introduced. Plaintiffs allege that the drug makers failed to adequately warn doctors about the lack of an antidote.
Similar claims were raised in the litigation over Pradaxa, which is a different medication that is part of the same new class of novel oral anticoagulants.
More than 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits were ultimately filed by users of that drug who suffered bleeding injuries over that medication, which was introduced about one year before Xarelto.
Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer of that medication ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.
As Xarelto injury lawyers continue to review potential cases for individuals and families nationwide, it is expected that the number of lawsuits involved in the MDL will continue to grow over the coming months, and will far exceed those involved in the Pradaxa litigation.
Judge Fallon has scheduled a series of early Xarleto bellwether trials in the MDL, which are expected to begin in February 2017. While the outcomes of these early trial dates will not be binding on other claims, they may help the parties negotiate Xarelto settlements that could avoid the need for thousands of individual cases to go before juries nationwide.
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