Judge Overturns $28M Xarelto Verdict Against Bayer and J&J

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Pharmaceutical companies Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has managed to avoid paying millions in damages on Wednesday, following a Pennsylvania state judge’s decision to reverse the verdict.

The judge overturned the ruling after hearing statements from the companies. A physician testified that additional warnings would not have changed her decision to prescribe the blood thinning drug Xarelto.

Bayer and J&J has been required to pay a $27.8 million jury award in December for failing to inform of internal bleeding risks of Xarelto that they jointly developed.

The drug makers stated that they accept the decision and will continue to fight claims in related case.

Bayer, J&J Facing Several Xarelto Lawsuits

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The verdict came in a lawsuit filed by an Indiana couple three years earlier. The wife, Lynn Hartman, said that she suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto for over a year. Hartman was then hospitalized in 2014 and has since recovered.

The jury at that time ordered Bayer and J&J to pay $1.8 million in compensatory damages and $26 million in punitive damages.

This is just one out of the 21,400 Xarelto suits that J&J says are pending in federal and state courts. This was also the first to arise from about 1,400 cases pending in the Philadelphia court.      

The drug makers won their first three cases in the courts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Juries ruled out that Xarelto was safe and that the companies were able to warn about its health risks.

It has been prescribed for people experiencing a common irregular heartbeat condition known as atrial fibrillation. The medicine is also intended to treat and lessen the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms.

Xarelto has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. It became Bayer’s top-selling medicine and has generated revenues of $3.41 billion in 2016. J&J made $2.2 billion in revenues from the drug during the same period as well.

However, plaintiffs claimed Xarelto was unsafe and that both companies failed to inform patients about its severe bleeding risks.

Bayer and J&J argued that the blood thinner’s label reasonably warns of the risks.

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