Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 24 lawsuits attached to a motion to transfer Eliquis claims into multidistrict litigation have been consolidated into an MDL by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The decision came on February 7, roughly two weeks after the hearing session order during which the JPML heard arguments that led to the new lawsuit news. The transfer into multidistrict litigation will coordinate the lawsuits included in the motion to transfer to promote the speedy progression of the claims by placing them all before a single federal judge, and is likely to grow in number in the coming months.
The Eliquis blood thinner lawsuits are still just in the beginning stages of the litigative process, which is part of the reason they were consolidated into an MDL. If lawsuits are too far along in their development, the JPML will likely decide against using the MDL process to resolve those suits as there will not be as much reason to push those claims through as quickly. At the time of the consolidation, there were less than 100 Eliquis lawsuits filed around the country, though as multidistrict lawsuit news of the MDL consolidation spreads, that number is likely to increase.
Plaintiffs have claims that the manufacturers of Eliquis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, did not properly test the drug for ample safety in its use with patients, leading to a number of serious bleeding episodes. These episodes allegedly were caused by the lack of a clotting agent in the blood thinner, making it difficult for a patient to stop bleeding or for the body to naturally clot a wound if they are taking Eliquis. Similar blood thinners such as Xarelto and Pradaxa have received similar complaints from patients that have used their products, and those lawsuits have also been consolidated as MDLs to amass the large number of claims being filed against those pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The more conventional blood thinner, Warfarin, had an ample amount of vitamin K in the medication, which specifically helped with blood clotting in the event of a bleeding incident with a patient. The new family of blood thinners, including Eliquis, did not have that feature and thus put the patient and their thinned blood at risk for severe bleeding incidents. The blood thinners are used to fight a number of diseases and afflictions, from blood clots to atrial fibrillation. While the drugs have maintained their effectiveness in treating those diseases, it hasn‘t outweighed the benefits of the prior drug thinners that were not as susceptible to the severe bleeding incidents.
The transfer of the Eliquis litigation into multidistrict litigation is the latest development in a long line of lawsuit news surround the new family of blood thinners to hit the market in recent years. It is unclear how the claims against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer will turn out, but thus far plaintiffs have been the beneficiaries of the proceedings. The most notable victory for plaintiffs in blood thinner lawsuits was the $650 billion settlement that multidistrict litigation lawyers reached with the manufacturers of Pradaxa in 2014.