Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson get court reprieve in $27.8 million lawsuit

The verdict piles on top of 3 previous verdicts which have acquitted the drugmakers in lawsuits related to the drug Xarelto. The ruling could add as a precedent to the 21,400 lawsuits that J&J is facing in federal and state courts in relation to Xarelto.

A court in Pennsylvania has ruled in favor of Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson overturning a landmark judgment which awarded an Indiana couple a whopping $27.8 million for failing to warn of internal bleeding risks of the drug Xarelto.

Following a motion by the drugmakers to reverse the December verdict, Judge Michael Erdos, in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, ruled in the defendant’s favor.

“Bayer stands behind the safety and efficacy of Xarelto and will continue to vigorously defend it,” said Bayer in a statement.

The lawsuit started when Lynn Hartman was prescribed Xarelto to prevent strokes as a result of atrial fibrillation, was hospitalized in June 2014 after taking the drug for approximately 1 year with severe gastrointestinal bleeding, which she blamed on Xarelto. Hartman has since recovered.

In 2015, Hartman and her husband sued the drugmakers and was awarded $1.8 million in compensatory damages and $26 million in punitive damages in December.

Incidentally, the lawsuit was 1 of 21,400 that J&J says are pending in federal and state courts which blame Xarelto for internal injuries.

The lawyer for the couple, Michael Weinkowitz, stated the judgment based itself on a “very narrow issue related to Mrs. Hartman’s prescribing physician.” He looked forward to trying the series of Xarelto-related cases in Philadelphia.

Xarelto, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011, is prescribed for people with atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, and to treat and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms.

Plaintiffs contend that Xarelto is unreasonably dangerous and that both J&J and Bayer have failed to warn patients about the serious risk of uncontrollable, irreversible bleeding in emergencies.

Both, J&J and Bayer contend Xarelto’s label adequately warns of bleeding risks.

Previously, federal juries have cleared the companies of liability in three previous trials.

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