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Originally scheduled to start in February, the first Bellwether trial for the blood thinner, Xarelto, will now begin on April 24, 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
In December 2014, the U.S. JPML established a federal Xarelto MDL (multi-district litigation). Today, more than 15,000 lawsuits pending throughout the federal court systems have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana as part of a multi-district litigation MDL No. 2592.
Lawsuits allege that the drug’s manufacturers, Bayer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, withheld important information and warnings about the potential bleeding side effects of Xarelto and the lack of an effective antidote to reverse the blood thinning effects of the drug.
The first of four Bellwether trials, set to start on April 24, 2017, will be the Joseph Boudreaux case. Boudreaux filed suit in December 2014 after using the drug for less than a month. He suffered severe gastrointestinal bleeds that put him in the hospital and forced him to endure several blood transfusions.
The schedule for the remaining three Bellwether trials is as follows:
Uncontrollable bleeding is a risk shared by all blood thinners; however, older, more traditional drugs such as Warfarin have an emergency antidote to prevent serious bleeding problems. Xarelto does not and cannot be flushed out of one’s system; thus, the uncontrollable bleeding can be fatal.
Xarelto is part of a new class of medications that have been promoted to be easier to use than Warfarin; however, there has been a large number or reports involving severe bleeding problems associated with Xarelto and other members of this drug class, Pradaxa and Eliquis.
In 2011, the FDA approved Xarelto’s use as a blood thinner for patients who have had knee or hip replacement surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots and for reducing the risk of stroke in people with an irregular heartbeat. In 2012, it was also approved for the general treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
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Past results afford no guarantee of future results and each case is different and is judged on its own merits.