In early December of 2017, a Philadelphia jury found that the pharmaceutical manufacturers are responsible for a woman’s injuries after taking Xarelto, a blood-thinning medication. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson have been ordered to pay nearly $28 million in damages. This is the first time a jury sided with the plaintiffs in a Xarelto trial.
According to Bloomberg News, Lynn Hartman had taken Xarelto for more than a year before she was hospitalized in 2014 for gastrointestinal bleeding. It took four blood transfusions to counteract the effects of Xarelto. After the incident, she started using a different blood thinner and has not experienced any similar problems.
Johnson & Johnson and Bayer, who developed the drug together, are to pay Ms. Hartman $1.8 million in damages and $26 million in punitive damages. The companies plan to appeal the jury’s decision.
At the trial, the former Food and Drug Administration chief told the court that the medication’s warning labels “understated the drug’s bleeding risks and didn’t warn doctors that some patients would be at higher risks for bleed outs.” The attorneys for Ms. Hartman argued that had physicians been properly instructed about the risks of prescribing Xarelto, thousands of grave patient health problems could have been prevented.
This was the fourth case in the Xarelto trials. In the first three trials, the juries found that the pharmaceutical companies had provided proper warning about the bleeding risks of Xarelto and that the medication was safe. There are more than 20,000 additional pending Xarelto lawsuits. The number of Xarelto lawsuits filed has grown by 27 percent in 2017.
According to U.S Food and Drug Administration reports, Xarelto has been linked to at least 370 deaths.
Xarelto generated $3.2 billion in sales for Bayer in 2016, making it the company’s top-selling product. The drug leveraged $2.3 billion in sales for Johnson & Johnson last year as the company’s third-highest selling product.