Morgan & Morgan complex litigation attorneys Joseph T. Waechter and Michael Goetz have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the makers of Xarelto. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ruth Dearborn, a Xarelto patient who suffered serious and fatal bleeding complications after taking the drug.
This is one of the most recent cases filed in the growing litigation against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare over their popular anticoagulant. The lawsuits allege that unlike older blood thinners, such as warfarin, there is no antidote to reverse Xarelto’s blood-thinning effects. As a result, doctors have been left without an effective means to treat and stabilize patients in the event of a bleeding emergency, leaving Xarelto users vulnerable to serious and life-threatening bleeds, according to the suits.
Morgan & Morgan’s client, Tara Howard, is one of Dearborn’s eight surviving children. Howard alleges that her mother was prescribed Xarelto in 2012 to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism related to a medical condition known as nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat.
About four months after Dearborn began taking the drug, she was admitted to the hospital for serious gastrointestinal and rectal bleeding. According to attorney Joseph Waechter, Dearborn’s doctors attempted to use treatments that would typically reverse the effects of a reversible anticoagulant, such as fresh frozen plasma, vitamin K, albumin and blood transfusions; however, these treatments did nothing to improve the bleeding, and Dearborn died after three days of complications.
“This pattern is typical for what our Xarelto clients are experiencing and highlights the real dangers of promoting a medication with no antidote,” Waechter said.
In fact, just one year after Xarelto was approved for use by the FDA, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published a report that found more than 350 reports of similar “serious, disabling or fatal” injuries related to Xarelto. Despite these findings, Janssen “reportedly saw no signal of a safety issue that needed to be addressed,” Waechter said.
“There have since been some changes to the Xarelto label, but these changes are not adequate in the view of Morgan & Morgan’s Complex Litigation Group attorneys,” according to Waechter. “We hope to raise awareness of consumers and their prescribing physicians of the dangers of Xarelto and have it removed from the market or, at a minimum, have a black box warning of its dangers and lack of antidote.”
Howard is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other damages stemming from her mother’s Xarelto-related complications and death. She is also seeking punitive damages, which she claims will serve as punishment for Janssen and Bayer for demonstrating “a complete disregard and reckless indifference for the safety of the general public.”