Centralization of Eliquis Bleeding Cases To Be Considered By MDL Panel

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled oral arguments for late next month, to consider whether to centralize and consolidate all Eliquis lawsuits filed by individuals who allege the blood thinner caused them to suffer severe, uncontrollable bleeding problems. 

In recent months, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been brought against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Inc., alleging that they failed to disclose the risk of bleeding problems associated with their new generation anticoagulant.

There are currently at least 34 complaints pending in 13 different U.S. District Courts nationwide, each involving similar claims that the drug makers failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the side effects of Eliquis, and the lack of an effective reversal agent that would allow doctors to stop bleeding that may develop among users.

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Eliquis is part of a new crop of oral anticoagulants introduced in recent years, known as factor xa medications, which also include the blockbuster treatments Xarelto and Pradaxa. The drugs have been aggressively marketed as a replacement for Coumadin (warfarin), which has been the go-to anticoagulation treatment for decades. However, unlike warfarin, these new drugs had no safe and effective antidote available when they were introduced, and a large number of bleeding problems with Eliquis, Xarelto and Pradaxa have been reported in recent years.

Thousands of Xarelto lawsuits and Pradaxa lawsuits have already been filed against the makers of these competing, and more popular, anticoagulants. Separate MDLs, or multidistrict litiations have previously been established by the U.S. JPML for cases involving these other factor xa medication.

While a relatively small number of Eliquis cases have been filed to date, it is expected that the number of complaints will continue to increase in the coming weeks and months, likely involving hundreds, or even thousands, of cases involving severe bleeds or wrongful death.

In a motion to transfer (PDF) filed with the JPML on October 13, Bristol -Myers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. requested that all Eliquis complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide be consolidated before one judge to prevent duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges, and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

In a hearing order (PDF) issued on December 15, the JPML set oral arguments for January 26, 2017 at the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. United States Courthouse in Miami, Florida.


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