Roughly 3 million people take blood thinners every year in the United States. Although blood thinners save countless lives, they can also cause dangerous bleeding requiring immediate medical attention.
Over the past couple of years, one blood thinner, in particular, the popular drug Xarelto, has been the subject of thousands of pharmaceutical liability lawsuits.
Let’s take a closer look at Xarelto, why its manufacturers are being sued, and what you should do if you suffer an injury after taking Xarelto.
Xarelto (generic name rivaroxaban) is a prescription blood thinner manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) and Bayer Healthcare.
The drug is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to:
Since Xarelto was first approved by the FDA in 2011, the popularity of the oral medication has soared.
Xarelto is regularly named by consumer advocates as 1 of the most dangerous drugs in the United States. Like most medications, Xarelto has a number of side effects, including:
Xarelto is particularly dangerous because it can cause uncontrollable bleeding, which could lead to death. To understand how that happens, it’s important to understand how blood thinners work. Blood thinners don’t actually thin your blood; rather, they prevent clots.
However, not all blood clots are bad.
Clots can help stop the flow of blood if you’re injured. The trick with all blood thinners, according to Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Gregory Piazza, is finding the right balance between helpful and harmful clotting.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you have any signs of serious bleeding after taking Xarelto or any other blood thinner. Signs of serious bleeding include:
Over the last few years, thousands of patients and family members of deceased former patients filed pharmaceutical liability lawsuits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare.
Generally speaking, the lawsuits allege that the plaintiffs suffered from internal bleeding and wound leakage as a result of taking Xarelto.
The first 6 cases to go to trial all resulted in favorable verdicts for the drug manufacturers.
Nevertheless, on March 25, 2019, Bayer Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals settled virtually all of the pending Xarelto lawsuits for $775 million.
At the time, there were roughly 23,866 lawsuits pending in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alone. These cases had been combined as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL).
"We're pleased that these drug companies have agreed to allow all these Xarelto patients to move their claims forward after years of seeking justice," said Brian Barr co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee for multidistrict litigation. "It may have taken more than four years and six separate trials but litigation like this is an important way for consumers to have a voice in matters of drug safety."
Importantly, patients who were not part of the settlement can still file lawsuits against Bayer Healthcare or Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
In 2018, the FDA approved the first and only bleeding antidote for Xarelto and other similar drugs. The antidote, called Andexxa, can be administered to reverse the life-threatening or uncontrollable bleeding that may result from taking Xarelto.
The antidote may result in fewer lawsuits filed against Xarelto, but it’s unlikely to eliminate lawsuits altogether. Andexxa is incredibly expensive and many hospitals do not carry the antidote, which means you could still die or suffer serious injuries from uncontrollable bleeding after taking Xarelto.
Still have questions about Xarelto?
Let’s see if we can answer some of them.
All states have a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit before the lawsuit is forever barred. Although the time period is different in every state, it’s generally between 1-4 years from the time you took the drug that caused your injury.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, so it’s always best to speak with an attorney before deciding whether or not you still have time to file a lawsuit.
Plaintiffs generally face a couple of major obstacles in Xarelto lawsuits.
First, plaintiffs need to prove that Xarelto caused their injury. This is often difficult to prove, particularly because patients typically have other health problems that could have caused or contributed to their injury.
Second, the learned intermediary doctrine holds that the drug manufacturer can escape liability for failure to warn about serious side effects if the drug manufacturer warned the prescribing physician and the physician failed to notify the patient.
Pharmaceutical liability cases are complex. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney who has experience bringing claims against drug manufacturers. You can find an experienced attorney near you using our free online directory.