Dozens of patients have filed lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, saying the companies’ blood thinner causes uncontrollable internal bleeding.
Federal Eliquis lawsuits have been consolidated in a New York court. Over the coming months, attorneys believe that hundreds of other injured patients may become eligible to file claims of their own.
While this litigation is closed, learn more about a similar lawsuit with our lawyers: Uloric lawsuit.
Several law firms have begun to run television commercials that inform blood thinner patients of a developing litigation around the “new generation” anti-coagulant Eliquis. Approved by the FDA in 2014, Eliquis has been linked to an increased risk for excessive bleeding, including internal gastrointestinal bleeds and severe brain bleeds.
While The Product Lawyers do not produce TV commercials, we have begun to investigate potential Eliquis claims on behalf of injured patients. If you or a loved one suffered a bleeding event while taking Eliquis, contact our experienced product liability lawyers to learn more about your legal options.
Dozens of patients have now filed suit against the drug’s manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, accusing the companies of failing to warn the public about the blood thinner’s significant bleeding risks. In fact, many plaintiffs believe that Eliquis should be considered a defective drug, since the medication was approved without an effective antidote.
Eliquis was designed to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with pre-existing diagnoses of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AFib) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Like all blood thinners, the drug poses a substantial risk for uncontrollable bleeding. However, traditional blood clot treatments, including warfarin, come equipped with an effective and fast antidote. After traumatic injuries or internal bleeding, patients taking warfarin can be administered a dose of Vitamin K, which will reverse the anticoagulant’s effect and prevent tragedy.
Eliquis, on the other hand, was approved without a reversal agent. In fact, the drug remains on the market today without an effective antidote. Despite promising early results, the US Food & Drug Administration recently rejected an approval application for an antidote, FiercePharma reports. The reversal agent, developed by San Francisco’s Portola Pharmaceuticals, may now be months away from reaching the US market.
For Eliquis lawsuits, on the other hand, major developments have altered the legal landscape in critical ways. A panel of federal judges has decided to transfer dozens of Eliquis lawsuits to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
On February 7, 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation announced that all federal Eliquis lawsuits will be consolidated in a Multi-District Litigation.
Noting that each lawsuit shared “common factual questions,” the Panel decided that “centralization will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.” Judge Denise L. Cote has been selected to preside over the newly-formed Multi-District Litigation (MDL). In Manhattan, the cases will continue through pre-trial proceedings together, allowing plaintiffs’ attorneys to coordinate their efforts.
As the JPML notes, both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer maintain corporate headquarters in New York City, within the New York federal court’s jurisdiction. The panel expects “relevant documents and witnesses” to be located in New York, which should ease the process of discovery, in which plaintiffs will be allowed to demand evidence from the companies.
The panel’s February 7th order only applies to a slate of 34 Eliquis lawsuits. These cases had already been filed when Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer initially petitioned the JPML for consolidation. Since that initial petition, at least 19 additional Eliquis lawsuits have been filed. Over the coming months, these claims will also be transferred to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Likwise, newly-filed Eliquis claims are likely to find themselves transferred to New York as well. The formation of a Multi-District Litigation does not restrict the rights of other patients and families to file Eliquis lawsuits of their own. In fact, an MDL may make the lawsuit-filing process easier in the future.
Eliquis is just one of three “new generation” anticoagulant drugs to come under fire for a significant risk of internal bleeding. With the breaking consolidation of Eliquis lawsuits, all three of these medications have led to Multi-District Litigation cases, in which multiple similar lawsuits are brought together in a central federal court.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer, the manufacturers of blockbuster blood thinner Xarelto, currently face over 13,000 lawsuits, which have been transferred to an MDL in Louisiana. The first trial over Xarelto’s alleged risk for uncontrollable bleeding is scheduled to begin on March 13, 2017.
In 2014, German pharmaceutical manufacturer Boerhinger Ingelheim settled thousands of lawsuits filed over the company’s new generation blood thinner Pradaxa, agreeing to pay injured patients nearly $650 million in compensation. Prior to the global settlement agreement, Pradaxa lawsuits had been consolidated in an Illinois federal court, according to Law360. Whether or not Eliquis lawsuits will lead to a similar resolution is unknown. But with federally-filed cases now consolidated as a Multi-District Litigation, legal observers believe that a wave of new Eliquis claims are on their way.
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