The Xarelto Internet home page trumpets “#1 Prescribed Blood Thinner in Its Class!” This news is accompanied by three popular celebrities: Saturday Night Live alumnus Kevin Nealon, retired golf legend Arnold Palmer, and NASCAR driver Brian Vickers (proudly displaying the name of his corporate sponsor on the front of his jacket – something that members of CONgress should be doing as well).

Apparently, these happy celebrities have yet to suffer the uncontrolled hemorrhaging associated with Xarelto and other “next generation” anti-coagulants.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana alone, the number of Xarelto lawsuits is up 1200%  since December 2014, from 33 to over 400. A quarter of those were filed since mid-April of 2015, and many more are in the pipeline. According to allegations, there were nearly 1,000 “adverse events” between January and September of 2013, more than seventy of which were fatal. Over 350 more were reported in Germany the previous year.

The cause of action is one that is frequently listed in such filings: “failure to warn.” Manufacturer Bayer (which historically has demonstrated little regard for human life) was allegedly aware that there was no antidote for the medication, which (unlike rival medication Pradaxa) cannot even be reversed with emergency dialysis.

The Honorable Judge Eldon E. Fallon, who is overseeing the current multi-district litigation in U.S. District Court in Louisiana, recently issued a pre-trial order designating approximately fifty pending lawsuits for discovery (the process by which all evidence on both sides is made available for examination by the Court).  Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals have up to eighty days to submit fact sheets relevant to the case, including records of communications with treating physicians who have prescribed Xarelto to plaintiffs. More information regarding the Xarelto litigation is available at Xarelto Lawsuit web site.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.