With cases in a newly-created Louisiana federal court moving full steam ahead over injuries from the blood thinner Xarelto, a Pennsylvania state court recently announced it too would enter the fray and hear claims over patient internal bleeding.
DrugNews reported last month that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation had transferred more than 50 cases from around the country alleging internal bleeding from Xarelto to the Eastern District of Louisiana for handling by U.S. District Judge Fallon. That MDL system is designed to provide an expedited legal process for patients with similar cases.
Now, Judge Kevin Dougherty, an administrative judge with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, has signed an order on January 21 permitting another 74 cases to be combined in that State’s Complex Litigation program.
The state mass tort venue will differ from the nationwide Xarelto MDL in that only victims with claims originating in Pennsylvania will be able to file lawsuits. However, this could add a substantial number of cases to an already growing litigation.
Xarelto is jointly marketed in the United States by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer, and has quickly become the most popular brand of blood thinner prescribed for patients with atrial fibrillation or at risk for blood clots in order to prevent strokes.
However, the drug, released in 2011, came without the safety net of a bleeding antidote for those patients that develop internal bleeding. This is a common side effect of all anticoagulant medications, but could be somewhat controlled with earlier versions.
So far, more than 2,400 patients have reported serious intestinal bleeding or brain hemorrhage, and nearly 350 have died. Most hospitals around the country have experience with a serious Xarelto bleeding incident, however there is little they can do to stop it.
Researchers are working hard to bring a viable bleeding antidote to market for patients taking Xarelto or similar drug Eliquis, but, until then, most patients take the drug without knowing the full risks.
Last year, the maker of Pradaxa agreed to pay more than $640 million in compensation to patients for similar side effects, and lawyers say the Xarelto litigation could be larger due to its popularity.
DrugNews continues to track all news on this and other blood thinning drugs, and can put those with questions about their case in touch with a qualified lawyer.
Packel, D. Philly Xarelto Suits Combined Into Mass Tort Program. Law360. (January 21, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.law360.com/lifesciences/articles/613574/philly-xarelto-suits-combined-into-mass-tort-program
Harris Martin Legal News. Pennsylvania State Court Creates Xarelto Blood Thinner Mass Tort Docket in Philadelphia. (January 22, 2015). Retrieved from http://harrismartin.com/article/19007/pa-state-court-creates-xarelto-blood-thinner-mass-tort-in-philadelphia/
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