For plaintiffs in Xarelto litigation, the third time was not the charm.
A jury in the third bellwether trial over the blood thinner Xarelto has sided with defendants Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Bayer—again. The verdict, rendered on Friday, came about three hours after the jury began deliberating and despite the absence of star defense attorney Beth Wilkinson. The trial also was in Jackson, Mississippi, not New Orleans.
Statements from both Bayer and Janssen noted that the verdict was the third defense win in the Xarelto litigation.
“The jury’s decision reflects the facts of this case and the appropriateness of Xarelto’s (rivaroxaban) FDA-approved design and labeling,” wrote Sarah Freeman, a spokeswoman for Janssen, which is part of Johnson & Johnson. “We will continue to defend against the allegations made in this litigation.”
Bayer spokeswoman Sasha Damouni Ellis added in an emailed statement, “Plaintiffs’ attorneys in these cases have presented multiple theories to juries regarding the alleged inadequacy of the Xarelto label, and all three juries have rejected their claims and found in favor of the companies.”
One of the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys, Andy Birchfield, a principal at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Alabama, stood by the plaintiffs’ claims — in particular, that the defendants should have instructed doctors to conduct a simple blood test that could assess a patient’s risk of bleeding. He also showed no signs of backing down.
“We will continue fighting for the thousands of innocent victims injured or killed by this drug,” he wrote. “The makers of Xarelto need to be candid about the risks posed by this blood thinner. Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare engaged in aggressive direct-to-consumer, physician marketing and advertising campaigns, but gave little weight to the dangers of Xarelto because they were more focused on their business plan than patient safety.”
More than 18,000 cases allege that Xarelto, an anticoagulant used to treat blood clots, caused plaintiffs to suffer from uncontrollable internal bleeding.
This month’s case was brought by Dora Mingo, a resident of Summit, Mississippi, who was admitted to the hospital in 2015 for gastrointestinal bleeding less than a month after taking Xarelto to treat a blood clot in her leg following hip replacement surgery.
This time, Janssen relied on Richard Sarver of Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, who was involved in the first Xarelto trial and is based in New Orleans. Bayer was represented by Lyn Pruitt of Mitchell Williams in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Walter T. Johnson at Watkins & Eager in Jackson, Mississippi.
Aside from the verdict, another aspect of the third trial remained the same: All the juries have taken between two to three hours to make their decision.