As the lawsuits continue to mount in the Xarelto litigation, plaintiffs look towards the Pradaxa settlement in hopes that they can obtain a similar result. Xarelto and Pradaxa are both new generation anticoagulants used to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. The allegations in both Xarelto and Pradaxa lawsuits are similar; plaintiffs allege that drug makers failed to warn about the risk of uncontrollable bleeding due to the lack of an antidote.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pradaxa in 2000. In the years following its release, Boehringer Ingelheim faced over 4,000 lawsuits filed over the blood thinner; 750 cases alleged wrongful death. On the eve of the trial, Boehringer Ingelheim settled the litigation for $650 million. As the Xarelto bellwether trials draw closer, plaintiffs are hoping for a similar outcome.
Federal Xarelto lawsuits are consolidated in the Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Eldon E. Fallon. An MDL brings similar lawsuits together in one court before one judge and streamlines proceedings in order to make litigation more efficient. Bellwether trials are the first lawsuits selected for trial; they represent the majority of the litigation. In addition to the MDL, a mass tort has been created in Philadelphia for Xarelto lawsuits. The bellwether trials in the MDL are expected to begin in Spring of 2017.
Pradaxa and Xarelto plaintiffs both allege that drug makers marketed their new generation blood thinners as being superior to warfarin. Warfarin is difficult to monitor, and therefore requires patients to undergo regular blood testing. There are also a number of foods and beverages that can reduce the efficiency of warfarin. The drug has been on the market for decades.
With all blood thinners, there is some risk of bleeding. In patients taking warfarin, the drug’s effects can be reversed with vitamin K if a patient begins to hemorrhage. Up until recently, no such antidote existed for Pradaxa or Xarelto (an antidote for Pradaxa was recently approved). Plaintiffs allege that drug makers failed to warn patients or their physicians about this risk.