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Dangerous drugs update:  U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, who is presiding over the Xarelto multi district litigation (“MDL”), has scheduled a Xarelto “science day” on June 14, 2015.  The purpose of the science day is to provide each side of the litigation with an opportunity to present information to the court in an objective manner, regarding the risks of serious bleeding related to Xarelto and similar anticoagulant drugs.  The presentations will be in the form of lectures by doctors and scientists, without cross-examination by the opposing side.  The presentations will not be admissible during trial and are solely for the education of the court.

Xarelto is an anticoagulant drug manufactured by Bayer Healthcare and Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.  Xarelto was introduced to the market in 2011 and has been aggressively promoted since that time.  As a result, Xarelto has become one of the best selling prescription medications in the United States.  Touted as being superior to the older standard anticoagulant, Warfarin, because it does not require routine blood testing, Xarelto has been associated with an increasing number of problems.

In addition to failure to warn of the risk of serious bleeding, Bayer and Janssen face allegations that they withheld important information regarding the absence of an antidote for Xarelto bleeds.  The anticoagulation effects of warfarin can be counteracted and reversed with administration of vitamin K, but there is no reversal agent for doctors in the event of hemorrhaging in Xarelto users.

Similar claims were made in litigation over another one of the new dangerous drugs  used for anticoagulant therapy – Pradaxa.  Pradaxa was first marketed in 2010, a year earlier than Xarelto.  More than 4,000 lawsuits were filed by individuals who suffered serious bleeding injuries.  Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of Pradaxa, agreed to settle those lawsuits for $650 million.