Patients who took Pradaxa® or XARELTO® allege the drug caused a variety of adverse effects including uncontrollable bleeding, intestinal bleeding, brain hemorrhaging, and rectal bleeding. In some cases, family members allege the drug caused death. Costs arising from these complications include extended hospitalization, blood transfusions, emotional distress, medical expenses and, sadly, funeral costs.
More than 50 of these patients have filed personal injury and wrongful death claims in federal courts against Pradaxa®’s or XARELTO®’s manufacturers, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bayer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The claims are made on the basis of a variety of alleged infractions on the part of the manufacturers, including:
- Defective drug design
- Failure to conduct adequate research to assess the safety of the drug
- Failure to adequately warn consumers of bleeding danger associated with XARELTO® or Pradaxa®
- Failure to disclose the absence of a reversal agent or the resulting inability of medical professionals to effectively reverse bleeding caused by XARELTO® or Pradaxa®
- Failure to update drug warnings and inform doctors when many patients began to suffer serious injuries associated with uncontrolled bleeding
- Failure to recall drug after life-threatening risks associated with the anticoagulant became clear
- Knowingly and negligently selling a faulty and dangerous drug to the public
Patients also feel misled because Pradaxa® and XARELTO® were heavily promoted as superior blood thinners to older drugs like warfarin (Coumadin) since it did not require doctors to routinely monitor patients. Now many experts claim that blood monitoring could have spared some patients serious injury or even death. This may or may not be the case, but what is true is that, under U.S. law, manufacturers are required to disclose known risks and hazards associated with their products. The lawsuits that have been filed allege that severe injuries and deaths could have been avoided if the manufacturers had simply met their obligations as set forth by law.
Lawsuits have been filed in 24 different federal courts across the United States. Here are a few examples of those claims:
- Harriet Ibanez filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. According to Ibanez, she was prescribed XARELTO® to prevent strokes from atrial fibrillation in October 2013 and afterward required hospitalization for severe bleeding and blood transfusions.
- Ann Hartman filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. According to Hartman, she suffered severe rectal bleeding after being prescribed XARELTO® for treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Hartman also required hospitalization and blood transfusions.
- Berth Bivens filed a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee against Boehringer in March 2012. According to Bivens, Pradaxa® led to the death of her mother, Nancy Brummett.
- Helen Hawkins filed a claim in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. According to Hawkins, she was prescribed Pradaxa® to treat her atrial fibrillation in February 2011 and afterward required hospitalization for gastrointestinal bleeding, during which she underwent a blood transfusion.
Because of the large number of lawsuits filed, plaintiffs petitioned in October 2014 to have all cases consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation, or MDL. At the time of the petition, there were 21 plaintiffs. Today that number stands at more than 50 and it is anticipated that thousands of claims may eventually be filed. When multiple lawsuits based on similar claims against a shared defendant are filed in federal courts, it is possible to have them all consolidated into an MDL. Under an MDL, all cases are heard by a single federal judge in a single location, regardless of where the case originated, and all cases follow the same judicial process and calendar. The MDL has an important role in streamlining the litigation process, as all plaintiffs and defendants are under one roof, discovery is coordinated, and bellwether trials can be set to determine the strength of the remaining claims. This synchronization helps reduce duplicative discovery, eliminates contradicting rulings, and allows plaintiffs to keep their own lawyers while still benefiting from the efficiencies offered by the MDL.
Numerous Pradaxa® lawsuits were filed in federal court against Boehringer Ingelheim, and most were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. U.S. District Court Judge David Herndon was to preside over more than one bellwether trial.
On December 12, 2014, The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted the petition and consolidated all XARELTO® lawsuits filed in federal courts into an MDL before U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Fallon has a great deal of MDL experience, having overseen the MDL proceedings for Avandia, Chinese drywall, and several other complex product liability claims.
On January 29, 2015, the court held the initial status conference in the case. The judge intimated that the litigation will move swiftly and announced that the court has set up a website at www.laed.uscourts.gov/Xarelto which will contain forms, court orders, minute entries, a calendar of upcoming events, and other relevant information.
While it offers advantages, the federal MDL process can be a highly specialized place of litigation. Before you choose a lawyer, make sure he or she is qualified for this type of lawsuit and has experience fighting large drug companies. At Avram Blair & Associates, P.C. we have just this type of experience.
At this point in time, no XARELTO® lawsuits have gone to trial or have been settled out of court. Lawsuits filed against Pradaxa® ‘s manufacturer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, were settled in 2014. In May 2014, the company announced that it would resolve approximately 4,000 claims, paying out $650 million to victims and their families.
Statute of limitations
Of course, as with any product liability or personal injury litigation, there are strict statutes of limitation. You only have a limited amount of time to file a suit. It is therefore imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you begin to experience adverse symptoms because that’s when the countdown begins.
We have an experienced team of attorneys at Avram Blair & Associates, P.C. who can help you wade through the complex rules and courts and determine if you have a case.
What you need to do
In order to file a lawsuit and receive just compensation, there are several steps you should follow.
- Receive a diagnosis of complications following use of Pradaxa® or XARELTO®.
- Obtain copies of your medical records.
- Determine warnings, if any, provided by the manufacturer to your physician, and by your physician to you.
- Compile records of your medical costs, lost wages, and other costs and expenses.
- Keep a journal of everything that you experience, including symptoms, medical visits, procedures, physician instructions and comments, medications, how you feel, and what you are able to do in terms of work, caring for yourself and your family, and how you are able to interact with others.
- Confer with an attorney about your circumstances and potential for a successful claim.
Additional activities may be required depending on the unique circumstances of your case, and there are numerous legal procedures to complete. It may feel overwhelming to tackle all this work and a confrontation with a big pharmaceutical manufacturer while you are dealing with medical complications and the associated treatment for these complications. We can help. That’s what we’re here for. We have experience handling these types of cases and we have staff standing ready to assist you.
Call us now at (800) 210-4539 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Our experienced team of attorneys will listen to your story, assess your chances for a successful claim, advise you on how to move forward, and help you do the legwork. We can help you obtain a just settlement for your pain and suffering.