Lawsuits Keeps Piling In
One of the world’s largest healthcare product manufacturers Johnson & Johnson has been forced to defend itself in court against a plethora of claims against products and pharmaceuticals that the company manufacture. One such drug is the blood thinner Xarelto, which is primarily prescribed to patients with atrial fibrillation and blood clot issues.
It has become the focus of thousands of case against Johnson & Johnson due to several life-threatening side effects and deaths that have resulted from the use of the drug. The primary issue has been its link to life-threatening and largely irreversible bleeding risks.
First approved in 2011 to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. However, within mere months the first death was reported to the FDA. By 2013, the number of bleeding-related complications and deaths associated with use reported to the FDA had reached an alarming rate. In 2014, the first wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson was filed in a Pennsylvania court.
Johnson & Johnson is facing several allegations in these suits. According to patients, the drug has a significant risk of severe, and sometimes fatal, bleeding. Plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson knew about the elevated risk for internal bleeding but downplayed the risk to patients and deceitfully misled physicians. In fact, in 2013 Johnson & Johnson took part in a marketing campaign that claimed the drug to be so safe that patients with atrial fibrillation didn’t even need blood monitoring or dosage changing. Both of these are requirements of their leading competitor, a long-standing drug called Warfarin. Xarelto was “flagged” by the FDA after the fraudulent ad campaign had given the drug wide recognition. In light of the drugs growing recognition by 2014, it was named one of the five fastest growing drugs in the market.
By 2014, amid soaring sales of the drug, the FDA issued a safety warning concerning the lack of a reversal agent in the case of internal bleeding caused by the drug. Not only was the drug causing unsuspecting patients to hemorrhage uncontrollably, there was no way to stop it. It seems the number of claims against the makers is growing daily. The latest estimate for the class action against Xarelto waiting to go to trial against Xarelto has skyrocketed to over 10,000. The first case in the bellwether trial is set to get underway in Louisiana on March 13, 2017. The bellwether case in Louisiana will set the tone for how other trials will go in the cases against Johnson and Johnson. In a bellwether case the results are not binding for any following cases, however, they do serve to facilitate terms of settlements and help them possibly avoid going in front of trial juries.