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Mississippi Xarelto Bellwether Trial Results in Defense Verdict for Drug Makers

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A defense verdict has been returned for the third time in a series of early “bellwether” trials scheduled to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout thousands of lawsuits that allege inadequate warnings were provided about the bleeding side effects of Xarelto, a new generation anticoagulant sold by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare. 

Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) was introduced in 2011, as the second member of a new class of drugs known as novel oral anticoagulants, which were marketed as easier to use than warfarin, which had been the go-to anti-clotting treatment for decades. However, as an alarming number of adverse event reports involving severe Xarelto bleeding problems began to emerge, mounting litigation has been filed against the drug makers.

There are currently more than 18,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, each involving similar claims that individuals suffered severe and uncontrollable bleeds while using the anticoagulant, alleging that inadequate warnings and instructions were provided for consumers and the medical community.

Late last week, a federal jury in Jackson, Mississippi found that the Bayer and Janssen were not liable for injuries experienced by Dora Mingo, who suffered acute gastrointestinal bleeding after using Xarelto for only one month in 2015.

This is the third win for the defendants as part of a group of bellwether cases selected for early trial dates in the litigation. While the outcomes of each individual trial are not binding on the thousands of other lawsuits, the cases are being closely watched by lawyers and may influence the future of the litigation.

In May, the first Xarelto jury trial ended in a defense verdict, after a jury found that Joseph Bourdreaux, Jr. failed to meet the necessary burden of proof. In June, a second bellwether trial, involving claims filed by Sharon Orr, also ended in a defense verdict.

Similar allegations were raised in thousands of Pradaxa lawsuits filed several years ago, as that medication hit the market before Xarelto. However, the maker of that competing drug ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements just before the first bellwether trials were set to begin, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.

Following a series of bellwether trials against Bayer and Janssen, if Xarelto settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached, thousands of individual cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates.

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