Multidistrict litigation (MDL) against the makers of Xarelto and representing nearly 3,000 lawsuits were consolidated late last year by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). Judge Eldon Fallon was appointed by the JPML to preside over the MDL in the Eastern District of Louisiana. As a result, Judge Fallon has issued several case management directives meant to further streamline the justice process.
Parties were directed by Judge Fallon on November 20, 2015 to choose ten cases from the 2,800 plaintiffs represented. A bellwether trial pool would be formed when these cases would be joined by twenty cases selected on the part of the court. Four suits, which conformed to specific, established criteria outlined in a subsequent case management order, would be selected in total for trial by jury, reports The Legal Examiner.
Approval was granted by the FDA in 2011 for the new-generation anticoagulant, Xarelto. It was at first intended for use by those suffering from pulmonary embolism or deep vein thromboses and for those recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery. Uses were expanded shortly thereafter for individuals with atrial fibrillation, a common cardiac condition that increases the risk for stroke. At the time, it was celebrated as a breakthrough in blood thinning medication.
However, serious side effects such as risk of catastrophic bleeding events, with potential for long-term-injury, even death led to the numerous lawsuits.
Plaintiffs in the MDL and the 550 cases represented in a mass tort program consolidated by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas claim that they feel the manufacturers of Xarelto, Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, are guilty of “negligent, reckless behavior.” The plaintiffs in most of the lawsuits allege that the manufacturers neglected to sufficiently warn the public of potential risks linked to the use of Xarelto, according to The Legal Examiner.