Xarelto Wrongful Death Claims Filed Over Internal Bleeding Problems

A multi-plaintiff lawsuit filed this week alleges that side effects of Xarelto caused the wrongful deaths of three people, and resulted in severe injuries from internal bleeding problems among other users of the controversial anticoagulant. 

The lawsuit (PDF) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 8, including wrongful death claims by the families of Faye Marie Booth, of Alabama; Charles Junior Callahan, of Colorado; and Joy Davis, of Georgia. It also includes personal injury claims by Ronnie Baker, of Kentucky; Martha Jean Lattanzo, of Pennsylvania, Immacula Nadege Nicolas, of Florida; and Mary Seaborough, of Georgia.

The lawsuit indicates that all of the plaintiffs suffered life-threatening bleeding events after using Xarelto, indicating that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen subsidiary knew or should have known about the risks.

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The claim joins about 3,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in the federal court system, with several hundred additional cases pending in Pennsylvania and other state court systems, with many of the cases involving multiple plaintiffs.

Given the growing number of claims being pursued throughout the federal court system, consolidated pretrial proceedings were established in the Eastern District of Louisiana last year, where the cases are all centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to reduce the risk of duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

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-generation of treatments prevent to avoid blood clots among individuals at risk for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Xarelto has been promoted as easier to use than warfarin, which has been the goto anticoagulation treatment for decades. However, since the new treatment was introduced, a large number of bleeding problems have been reported among individuals prescribed Xarelto.

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 bleeding risks with Xarelto or the lack of an antidote.

“Importantly, Xarelto’s significant risk of severe, and sometimes fatal, internal bleeding has no antidote to reverse its effects, unlike warfarin. Therefore, in the event of hemorrhagic complications, there is no available reversal agent,” the lawsuit filed this week states. “The original U.S. label, approved when the drug was first marketed, did not contain a warning regarding the lack of antidote, but instead only mentioned this important fact in the overdose section.”

Similar claims were raised in similar litigation filed over Pradaxa, which is another new-generation anticoagulant introduced in October 2010, one year before Xarelto hit the market.

More than 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits were ultimately filed by users of that drug who suffered bleeding injuries. 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 bleeding lawyers continue to review potential cases for individuals prescribed the anticoagulant throughout the United States, it is expected that this litigation will involve many more cases than the Pradaxa litigation, as the drug has become more widely used in recent years.


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