Xarelto Marketing For Lawyers: How To Add Xarelto To Your Law Firm’s Website
Right now, there are lots of opportunities to start or grow a mass torts practice. If you’re a plaintiff lawyer who’s been thinking about a mass torts practice, one good place to start is with the drug Xarelto.
A mass tort is typically a product liability lawsuit filed against a drug company or medical device maker over a dangerous drug or device. Frequently in these mass torts cases, there are thousands of plaintiffs and their cases are normally consolidated into a single court.
Watch this 30 minute webinar and review the slides, or keep reading to learn more.
What is Xarelto?
Xarelto, a drug designed to thin the blood to prevent clots in patients who have an abnormal heart rhythm, who are at risk of stroke, or who have had hip or knee replacement surgery. You’ve probably seen the advertisements on television.
An explosion in Xarelto cases…
What we’re seeing right now is an absolute explosion in Xarelto products liability cases. The MDL docket was only created in 2014 in the eastern district of Louisiana. Started out with 21 cases, and by the end of the year, over 400 cases. By Dec 2015, it had exploded to 2400 cases, six months later in April, 4500 cases. It really took off in 2016 and there are now more than 15k cases.
Right now is an excellent time to start a practice in mass torts cases involving Xarelto. The main driver of this is that the first bellwether (test case) trial is on April 24, 2017. The next is on 5/30.
When that takes place, you’re going to see widespread marketing for clients and patients who took Xarelto, and we expect to see this increase dramatically. The time to get involved is right now.
Attorney Larry Bodine, our senior legal marketing strategist, says that the two companies involved in Xarelto are facing a potential liability of $2.5 billion, based on settlements in previous cases.
Larry estimates the settlement value could be up to $500,000 in a wrongful death case, and the average settlement could be $162,000.
It’s easy for attorneys to get involved in Xarelto litigation.
At this point, it’s very easy to get involved in Xarelto litigation. The court has established both short and long-form complaints. So essentially, all you need to do is find a client and fill in the blanks as appropriate. The defense has put together a plaintiff fact sheet that goes through questions about the medical history of the patient, also available from the court, that’s a fill-in-the-blanks sheet.
“As you can see, this is quite different from typical personal injury cases where the facts and defendants change all the time,” Larry says. “Here, you have a fixed set of facts, and set defendants. And really, the primary effort that needs to be put in is acquiring new clients.”
With more than 15,000 cases already, you might be asking, are there any more plaintiffs out there to find? And the answer to that is yes — there are many more potential plaintiffs. More than 7 million people worldwide have been prescribed Xarelto, and at least 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation that’s treated with Xarelto. All of these people are potential plaintiffs.
Coupled with the fact that you have defendants with deep pockets — Xarelto is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals which is a subsidiary of J&J and it’s also co-marketed with Bayer.
The history of Xarelto
Here’s the history of how we got to this point. This history should help you decide whether you want to open a practice with Xarelto plaintiffs.
Xarelto was designed to replace an older drug called warfarin (Coumadin). Warfarin still in use today. Originally approved in 1954 by the FDA, it can easily be reversed with Vitamin K, the blood element that causes clotting.
A strong profit motive for companies…
Warfarin had some difficulties to it — the doctor who prescribed the drug had to monitor a patient’s diet and dosage carefully.
Xarelto, on the other hand, was marketed as a once-a-day dose, despite that it has a short half life: between 5-9 hours.
There was a strong profit motive to create a new drug when warfarin became generic. The lowest available price of 30 standard warfarin tablets is $4. The lowest price for 30, 5 mg Xarelto tablets?
You can see why this became a blockbuster drug for Johnson & Johnson: In 2014, the company had sales totaling $3.7 billion for Xarelto alone.
Xarelto’s approval history
Xarelto wasn’t approved for use by the FDA as a once-a-day standard blood thinner.
In July 2011, it was approved to reduce the risk of blood clots after hip and knee replacements. A few months later in November 2011, it was approved to reduce the risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation.
Then in November 2012, they expanded it to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.
Xarelto has no reversal agent.
Throughout all of this, the manufacturers ignored the dangers of Xarelto.
It has no reversal agent or antidote, and can cause uncontrollable internal bleeding. Also, the plaintiffs allege that Xarelto can actually cause strokes and blood clots if discontinued abruptly. The plaintiffs also charge that the makers of the drug failed to warn users and actually concealed the fact that Xarelto causes uncontrolled internal bleeding.
Did Xarelto kill Arnold Palmer?
One of the more famous questions out there is this. Remember Arnold Palmer, the famous golfer? He was in advertisements promoting Xarelto. Then in September 2016, he died from gastrointestinal bleeding.
Meanwhile, the defendants continued to aggressively promote this blockbuster drug, despite the cases mounting in several courts.
Xarelto Litigation Overview
Most of the cases, the 15,000 cases, are in multi-district litigation in federal court in New Orleans, LA.
This is where the bellwether trial is coming up, and it’s likely to get a lot of attention. (As a footnote, this is the place to file an action involving a hemorrhagic stroke.)
Meanwhile, a smaller cluster of claims have been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in PA State Court. So far, there are about 1100 cases. Note to file: this is the place to file if your client has an ischemic stroke — a stroke caused by a blood clot.
Finally, there’s a small cluster of cases in California State Court, about 31 cases. There are coordinated proceedings in California Superior Court before Judge Kenneth Freeman in Los Angeles. If you have a client domiciled in California, this is a court you might consider.
First Federal Court Trial for Xarelto
Here’s what’s coming up on April 24: The very first test case.
The plaintiff is Joseph Boudreaux, Jr. in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.
Boudreaux was prescribed Xarelto in 2014 for atrial fibrillation. He only took the drug for 21 days before he suffered severe gastrointestinal bleeding. He survived only because of several blood transfusions.
Companies Ignored Danger Signals About Xarelto
One of the things that’s going to come out in the trial is how Bayer and Janssen ignored several danger signals.
It began with research: Studies began showing as early as 2008 that there were problems with Xarelto and it was more dangerous than other drugs.
The New England Journal Of Medicine published articles in 2008, 2011 and 2012 all of which discussed an increased risk of adverse events.
In 2012, the FDA recorded “serious adverse events” reports about Xarelto.
This was the first year after the drug was on the market and there were 2,081 serious adverse events. 151 of those were deaths, compared to only 56 deaths from warfarin.
In 2013 & 2014, the FDA required Xarelto drugmakers to include warnings on the box:
First, that abrupt or premature cessation of Xarelto by patients caused blood clots, and secondly, that Xarelto can cause internal bleeding. The warning must state expressly that a specific antidote is not available.
Xarelto: Where do attorneys go from here?
“I foresee that after the first or second bellwether trial, there’s going to be some serious discussion about settlement,” Larry says. “The conventional wisdom about a settlement is that nothing will happen until the litigation affects the stock price of Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. And I’m thinking that may happen this year, based on settlements involving a similar blood thinner called Pradaxa.”
Pradaxa was approved in 2010 before Xarelto and it was a huge hit — it got great sales for Boehringer-Ingelheim. Unfortunately, like Xarelto, Pradaxa didn’t have an antidote for bleeding. Thousands of lawsuits were filed, and in 2014, Boehringer-Ingelheim settled 4000 cases in state and federal courts for $650 million. Individual settlements ranged from $500,000 to $12,000.
“For purposes of calculating how big the settlement for Xarelto might be, take an average settlement: $162,500,” Larry says. “When multiplied by the 15,611 cases that are currently out there, that gives a potential liability of $2.53 billion. This is why Xarelto is a very attractive addition to a personal injury practice.
How do attorneys attract potential clients for Xarelto cases?
Now that you know about the settlements and how straightforward the litigation can be, what it comes down to is this:
How do you get more clients?
To learn about attracting potential clients for Xarelto cases, watch the above webinar on Xarelto from our Mass Torts Marketing series.
Do you have questions about marketing a mass torts practice? LawLytics can help. Call us at 800-713-0161 or schedule our call.