First Xarelto Trial Begins April 24

By Emily Cox
First Xarelto Trial
Bleeding Hearts Flower Photo by Salem Eames

The first Xarelto trial out of about 17,000 pending lawsuits over severe bleeding while on the anti-coagulation medication will begin April 24 unless lawyers negotiate a settlement.

A similar litigation involving the blood thinner Pradaxa reached a settlement just before trials began. Boehringer Ingelheim, the drug’s manufacturer, was facing about 4,000 lawsuits from people who were injured or died from bleeding while on Pradaxa.  Just before the first trials were about to begin, the manufacturer and plaintiffs reached a $650 million settlement agreement. The average payout was $162,500.

Currently, there are 15,611 federal Xarelto lawsuits in Louisiana with another 1,343 cases at the state level in Philadelphia. All of these lawsuits involve people who experienced dangerous bleeding while taking Xarelto.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized all the federal lawsuits under Judge Eldon Fallon in the District of Louisiana. Multidistrict litigations (MDLs) use early “bellwether” trials to gauge how juries are likely to respond to evidence that is central to the litigation.

Xarelto Trial Lawsuits

The first Xarelto trial will take place in Louisiana. The plaintiff, Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., used Xarelto for around a month before developing internal bleeding. His severe bleeding required hospitalization and several blood transfusions.

The second Xarelto trial will also be in Louisiana. The plaintiff, Joseph Orr, alleges that his wife died of uncontrollable bleeding in her brain after taking Xarelto for one month.

The third trial will take place in Mississippi. It involves Dora Mingo. Mingo suffered gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto to prevent blood clots. The fourth Xarelto trial will occur in Texas and involves William Henry who died of gastrointestinal bleeding while taking the drug for atrial fibrillation. The court will determine these last two Xarelto trial dates in June.

All these lawsuits accuse Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals of aggressively marketing Xarelto to replace Coumadin (warfarin) despite not having an antidote to reverse bleeding while on the drug. Plaintiffs assert that these companies downplayed the bleeding risks for financial gain.

Warfarin has been the standard of anticoagulant care since the 1950s. Unlike Xarelto, a dose of vitamin K will deactivate its blood thinning properties.

The FDA started approving new-generation blood-thinning drugs in 2010, starting with Pradaxa (dabigatran). Xarelto (rivaroxaban) followed shortly after in 2011. At the time, neither drug had a reversal agent to deactivate anticoagulation in emergencies.



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