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A growing number of product liability lawsuits are being filed in Delaware state court, alleging that side effects of Eliquis caused severe bleeding problems that cannot easily be stopped.
The complaints are being filed at the state level after a U.S. District Judge granted a motion to dismiss Eliquis cases pending in the federal court system last year. At the time, about 80 Eliquis lawsuits had been consolidated and centralized before U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote in the Southern District of New York as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
More recently, plaintiffs have begun filing Eliquis lawsuits in the Superior Court of Delaware, including several claims brought since the beginning of 2018.
Each of the lawsuits raise similar allegations that Eliquis caused severe or fatal bleeding problems, indicating that the drug makers withheld information about the lack of an antidote to reverse the blood thinning effects of the drug, and failed to provide proper recommendations regarding monitoring to maintain a safe dose.
The new cases being filed in Delaware state court maintain that the manufacturers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, intentionally deceived the medical community and plaintiffs regarding the safety profile of Eliquis.
“Defendants concealed their knowledge of Eliquis’ defects, from Plaintiff, the FDA, the public in general and the medical community, including Plaintiff’s prescribing doctor,” according to a complaint (PDF) filed on January 3 by Edward Oliver, of Pennsylvania. “These representations were made by Defendant with the intent of defrauding and deceiving Plaintiff, the public in general, and the medical and healthcare community including Plaintiff’s prescribing doctor, and were made with the intent of inducing the public in general, and the medical community in particular, to recommend, dispense and purchase Eliquis, all of which evinced a callous, reckless, willful, depraved indifference to health, safety and welfare of the Plaintiff herein.”
In May 2017, Judge Cole granted a motion to dismiss the cases filed in federal court, after making an early determination that the warning labels provided on Eliquis labels were sufficient as a matter of law.
The new state court complaints indicate that the manufacturers understated the risks of Eliquis bleeding events, and the difficulty in stopping them, intentionally.
“Eliquis was unaccompanied by proper warnings regarding irreversible bleeding caused by Eliquis and Defendants continued to aggressively promote Eliquis even after it knew or should have known of irreversible bleeding from the drug,” the lawsuits state.
The allegations raised in the Eliquis lawsuits are similar to those presented in more than 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits filed against the makers of that competing novel oral anticoagulant, which was introduced about a year earlier. Plaintiffs in those cases also argue that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn about the bleeding risk, withheld information about the lack of an antidote and provided false and misleading information that led to improper monitoring during treatment.
After the judge presiding over the Xarelto cases rejected a similar motion to dismiss based on federal pre-emption, a series of early trial dates were held last year in the federal court system, which were designed to help gauge how juries will respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be presented. Following the bellwether trials, if Xarelto settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached, thousands of individual cases may be set for trial dates nationwide.