Bayer Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the two companies behind the incredibly popular anti-coagulant drug Xarelto, recently agreed to pay more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to settle the more than 25,000 outstanding failure-to-warn lawsuits. This $775 million settlement translates to a mean recovery amount of around $31,000—however, it’s likely that some plaintiffs will receive far more than this amount.
These class-action lawsuits allege that Xarelto patients weren’t adequately warned about the serious risk of potentially life-altering complications associated with this drug. Unlike other blood- thinning medications like warfarin, which have time-tested antidotes that can quickly be deployed if a patient accidentally overdoses or suffers serious side effects, Xarelto has no reversal mechanism. This means that Xarelto patients may develop irreversible or even potentially fatal hemorrhages if they’re involved in an accident that causes bleeding or are inadvertently taking a larger-than-necessary dose of the drug.
Despite these risks, Xarelto has long been a popular choice among doctors because it doesn’t require patients to undergo the regular blood tests associated with warfarin and other blood thinners. Unfortunately, this convenience came at a cost for many patients who wish they had received more detailed warnings about the potential for complications.
The first Xarelto lawsuits were filed in 2014, and many more followed. Eventually, these lawsuits were consolidated in a New Orleans federal court to streamline the litigation process. Although Bayer Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals won six of the bellwether cases—or “test cases” designed to provide a representative picture of a larger number of claims—these companies indicated that they wished to avoid the uncertainty and expense of further litigation by terminating the remaining cases immediately.
With this settlement, the remaining failure-to-warn cases will be dismissed with prejudice. This means that everyone who accepts the settlement will be barred from bringing any other claims against the manufacturers of Xarelto. A court-appointed special master and a claims administrator will soon be appointed to oversee the claims process and handle any appeals that arise.