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Eliquis Lawsuits Moving Forward in MDL, Venue Still to be Determined

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Miami, FLApixaban, a blood thinner marketed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. (Bristol Meyers) and Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) under the name Eliquis and promoted as “something better than warfarin,” turned out to be something else again for patients, according to Eliquis blood thinner lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege the latter-generation blood thinners left them with uncontrollable bleeding, primarily involving the brain and gastrointestinal tract. Many case documents characterize those bleeding events as life-threatening.

Now, Bristol Meyers and Squibb are lobbying for the centralization of Eliquis lawsuits in the southern district of New York where both manufacturers are located. Consolidation in multi-district litigation has been approved by the majority of Eliquis lawsuit plaintiffs (In Re: Eliquis (Apixaban) Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2754, before the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation). However the choice of jurisdiction remains at play, with some having a preference for California and the Southern District of Illinois, while others prefer the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Those supporting Louisiana as a venue note that judges within that jurisdiction already have experience with these, and similar cases. Although pending Eliquis injury lawsuit cases numbered 34 as of a month ago – January 27 – those close to the file expect something in the neighborhood of 500 to 600 additional Eliquis side effects lawsuits are expected to be filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Proponents favoring the New Orleans venue note that while New York is convenient for the defendants, New Orleans is more centralized geographically.

Eliquis was brought to market as an alternative to Coumadin (warfarin). Apixaban, the molecular name for Eliquis, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for stroke risk reduction. To wit, Eliquis was approved for patients at risk for blood clots following hip or knee replacement, and as a treatment for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, as well as to reduce a potential recurrence.

However plaintiffs have alleged serious side effects with Eliquis anticoagulant, including uncontrollable vaginal bleeding, as well as bleeding events involving the heart or lungs. This, in addition to the aforementioned bleeds to the brain and gastrointestinal tract.

The pathway to Eliquis litigation appears to be paved with the same allegations stemming from other new-age blood thinners such as Pradaxa and Xarelto. Longtime users of Coumadin, considered one of the most-used anti-coagulants with a profile going back more than fifty years, nonetheless lamented the need for frequent monitoring to achieve correct levels and prevent potentially life-threatening bleeding events. Eliquis was marketed as a more convenient alternative, with less monitoring required than Coumadin.

However plaintiffs allege that not only does apixaban risk troubling Eliquis side effects such as serious bleeding events, the Eliquis anticoagulant was brought to market without an effective means to reverse the blood-thinning properties of the drug, denying doctors an effective tool to combat a serious hemorrhage.

Coumadin has always benefitted from the opportunity to reign in a potentially serious bleeding event with an infusion of Vitamin K, which serves to reverse the thinning properties of warfarin. Eliquis was brought to market without such an antidote in place.

Plaintiffs accuse Bristol Meyers and Pfizer of product liability, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty and violations of consumer protection laws. Plaintiffs further allege the manufacturers failed to disclose shortcomings in studies – including a death – in their haste to get apixaban to market, or so it is alleged.

Venue in the Eliquis anticoagulant MDL has yet to be determined.

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