This December, pharmaceutical giants Bayer and Johnson & Johnson were ordered to pay almost $30 million in a lawsuit involving their blood-thinning product, Xarelto. The payout was awarded to a couple from Indiana after a woman suffered severe internal bleeding as a result of using Xarelto. Both Johnson & Johnson and Bayer were accused of failing to provide sufficient warning to the public for the possible negative side effects of the blood thinner.

According to Reuters, victim Lynn Hartman and her husband initially sued the pharmaceutical companies in 2015 after being hospitalized for gastrointestinal bleeding in June 2014. Before her hospitalization, Hartman had been taking Xarelto for almost a year to prevent strokes, a risk she suffers from due to an irregular heartbeat. The couple subsequently filed a lawsuit accusing both Bayer and Johnson & Johnson of not providing an appropriate warning for the possibility of internal bleeding as a side effect of taking Xarelto.

In another article published by Lawyers and Settlements, the Hartman’s attorneys argued at trial that Johnson & Johnson and Bayer not only failed to provide adequate warning for the potential side effect of internal bleeding after using Xarelto, but also failed to inform doctors that some patients could end up with higher levels of the medication remaining in their blood. Furthermore, the victim’s lawyers stated that the risks of negative side effects associated with Xarelto were higher than the risks associated with using similar blood thinners, including Eliquis and Pradaxa.

In the same report from Reuters, Bayer stated that they believe there was no basis for the verdict and they are planning to file an appeal.  Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary company, Janssen, also argued that the safety of taking Xarelto can be reinforced by scientific studies and multiple approvals from the FDA. Despite the alleged evidence of the product being safe for consumer use, the same Lawyers and Settlements article stated there are currently over 1,500 trials related to Xarelto pending in the same Philadelphia court that awarded the Hartman family their payout. At least 18,500 additional cases against Xarelto are pending in the federal court in a multidistrict litigation, according to Reuters.

The Hartman family was awarded a total of $27.8 million for their damages by a Philadelphia State court. Reuters listed $1.8 million as payout for compensation and the remaining $26 million for punitive damages. This recent ruling is the first loss against Johnson & Johnson and Bayer over their Xarelto product as they have won three previous litigations regarding the same product.

When taking a new medication or prescription, always make sure to check the labels and packaging for any warnings of potential negative side effects. If you begin to suffer any negative symptoms or side effects from taking a new medication, contact your doctor immediately. You can also visit the FDA’s drug recall section on their website to see if the medication you are taking has been subject to any recalls or issues. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury as a result of a defective medical product or dangerous drug, contact one of our attorneys at Hammers Law Firm today. We are committed to seeking justice for your damages and holding pharmaceutical giants responsible for their products.