There have been a host of new-age blood thinners introduced to the market within the last decade aimed at providing an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin), a reliable but high-maintenance blood thinner employed for the last fifty years but requiring intensive and active monitoring in order to maintain a reliable safety zone of optimum anti-coagulation for prevention of stroke and blood clot, without tipping the scales towards higher risk of serious hemorrhages or bleeding events.
Should a serious bleeding event occur with the Eliquis blood thinner, doctors have fewer options for stemming the hemorrhage given that the Eliquis anticoagulant – like others before it – was allowed into the market without an available antidote. In contrast, the anticoagulation properties of Coumadin (warfarin), can be effectively reversed with an infusion of Vitamin K. Eliquis (apixaban), akin to other latter-generation blood thinners, does not respond to Vitamin K. Plaintiffs in Eliquis injury lawsuits have claimed surprise over the lack of an antidote, and assert the manufacturers of Eliquis – Pfizer Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb – were negligent in claiming their product required less-stringent monitoring.
Federal Eliquis lawsuits have since been consolidated in multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of New York (In Re: Eliquis (apixaban) Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2754). There are about 50 lawsuits housed federally in the MDL now assigned to the US District Court, Southern District of New York before US District Judge Denise L. Cote.
There remains, at the least about an equal number of cases filed at the state level in California. To that end, The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is considering a further consolidation of state cases, at a venue to be determined later this spring.
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In comparison, the growing stock of next-generation anticoagulants has been allowed into the market without a reversing agent. The resulting shift away from a high-maintenance heritage product with an emergency exit, if you will – to lower-maintenance products without that all-important escape hatch – combines with an aging population to a perfect storm from which the only shelter comes courtesy of the courts.