The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ordered
the consolidation of all federal court lawsuits filed against Johnson
& Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. unit and Bayer Corp.
by those claiming to have suffered injuries after taking the prescription
order issued Friday, the JPML chose the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana in New Orleans as the site for the multidistrict
litigation (MDL) proceedings. The MDL will now be named In re: Xarelto
(Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2592). Judge Eldon
E. Fallon will preside over the MDL.
According to the panel, its decision will result in the immediate consolidation
of 21 Xarelto lawsuits and 30 "potential tag-along actions"
that have been filed in 22 federal district courts across the country,
including the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
More claims will likely be filed in the coming months and included in the
new MDL. Lawsuits are also pending in state courts across the U.S.
The purpose of consolidating lawsuits into a MDL is to save time and money
for all parties during the pretrial process, which includes discovery
and pretrial motions. The lawsuits remain separate and distinct from each
other. When the pretrial process ends, the cases are returned to the federal
district court where they were filed for trial.
Panel Rejects Drug Companies' Arguments
In reaching its decision, the JPML rejected the defendant drug companies'
arguments against consolidation - specifically, their contention that
the cases contained too many "individualized facts," such as
the dosage, medical history and alleged injuries suffered by the different
The panel found that those individualized facts did not negate the many
common factual issues involved in the cases, including the plaintiffs'
allegations that they (or their loved ones) suffered severe bleeding as
the result of taking Xarelto and that the defendants failed to adequately
warn prescribing doctors and patients about the risks associated with
Xarelto. The two primary risks alleged are:
- The potential for severe or fatal bleeding, and
- The lack of a reversal agent, or antidote, to counteract Xarelto's
"Issues concerning the development, manufacture, regulatory approval,
labeling and marketing of Xarelto are thus common to all actions,"
the panel concluded.
Additionally, the JPML rejected the drug companies' arguments that
the litigation lacked merit or that creating the MDL would lead to a flood
of new claims. Those issues would be best left to the court overseeing
the MDL, the panel held.
It should be noted that New Orleans is a different venue than what the
majority of the plaintiffs and the defendants wanted if the cases were
The majority of the plaintiffs had requested the MDL take place in the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. That is the
same court where cases involving another blood-thinning medication, Pradaxa
(MDL No. 2385), were consolidated.
Meanwhile, the drug companies had asked for the U.S. District Court for
the District of New Jersey, which is closer to their corporate offices.
Background on Xarelto Litigation
Xarelto first hit the U.S. market in 2011. The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the oral anticoagulant medication for three uses:
- Prevention of blood clots after knee or hip replacement surgery
- Reduction of the risk of blood clot-related strokes in patients with non-valvular
- Treatment of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary
Xarelto, which is sold in the U.S. by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. According to Bloomberg,
Xarelto sales hit $414 million in the U.S. in the third quarter alone in 2014.
However, in court filings, plaintiffs have claimed that the defendant drug
companies did not properly test Xarelto before it reached the U.S. market
and have overstated the drug's benefits while downplaying its risks,
According to the media outlet, citing court documents, the plaintiffs claim
that Xarelto has been associated with 65 deaths and roughly 1,000 FDA
adverse event reports.
If you or your loved one has suffered harm from severe bleeding after taking Xarelto,
contact The Maher Law Firm to learn more about your legal rights.