According to the statement of claim, Sharyn Orr’s family rushed her to a hospital emergency room in New Orleans on April 24, 2015. The 67-year-old academic advisor from Tulane University in New Orleans had suffered a massive stroke. But, because she was prescribed Xarelto the neurosurgeon feared Orr would bleed out if they did not wait at least 12 hours before they operated.
Sharyn Orr had been prescribed the blood thinner Xarelto fourteen months earlier as a treatment for atrial fibrillation. There is no known antidote to bleeding in patients using Xarelto.
Ten days later, on May 4, 2016, Orr died.
Her surviving family members are now the plaintiffs in an MDL consolidated lawsuit - U.S District Court for Eastern District of Louisiana (Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:14-md-02592. The suit alleges that Bayer and Johnson & Johnson failed to warn patients and doctors about the dangers of Xarelto. In addition, the Orr suit claims that Johnson & Johnson and Bayer failed to provide doctors with adequate information regarding a test that could predict serious bleed risks in patients.
“The manufacturers of Xarelto owe it to the medical community and patients to fully disclose the risks posed by this drug and to encourage use of a simple test to predict and identify patients that are most likely to suffer serious bleeding,” says Andy Birchfield, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
“Had the defendants provided information to the neurosurgeon about the available measurement of Xarelto in Mrs. Orr’s system, it is more likely than not that doing so would have either prevented her death, or would have increased her chances of surviving,” says Birchfield from the firm of Andy Birchfield.
The Orr trial is the second series of four bell weather trials alleging the drug makers were aware of the unstoppable bleeding that accompanies the use of Xarelto.
The first trial involved the case of Joseph Boudreaux who told the jury that within a month of beginning to take Xarelto for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation he began to feel sick. “I got so weak I couldn’t go anymore,” he told the jury. Boudreaux had developed a gastrointestinal bleed. He ended up spending $100,000 for emergency transfusions and other medical interventions to stop the life-threatening hemorrhaging.
Hematologist Cindy Leissinger who testified at the trial said, “I feel very strongly that Xarelto was a major contributor to the major bleed that he had.”
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However, in the Boudreaux case the jury denied the plaintiff’s claims and found for Bayer and Johnson & Johnson.
An estimated 28 million people in 130 countries use Xarelto, also known as Rivaroxaban, to treat and reduce the risk of life-threatening blood clots from forming in the lungs.
Bayer and J&J maintain Xarelto is an innovative product that improved the lives of millions and the benefits associated with the use of Xarelto are far outweighed by the risks.
There are some 14,000 cases pending against the makers of Xarelto. The FDA has received approximately 2,000 reports of adverse events related to Xarelto including 151 deaths.