Analysis of Proposed Xarelto Settlement Discount Rates – Debunking Defendants Rationale

 

 

Analysis of Proposed Xarelto Settlement Discount Rates

Debunking Defendants Rationale

 This is a follow up to the Mass Tort Nexus article “Xarelto Settlement: Dead on Arrival” – link: Xarelto-Settlement-Dead-on-Arrival? April 15, 2019

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) This article is intended to address the Xarelto defendants’ contentions that certain settlement offer “discounts” are justified for client cases arising in 2015 and 2016 due to changes in the FDA label,  which the defendant contends brought warnings contained in the label into adequacy. This paper will also address defendant’s contention that cases arising under the laws of the States of Texas and Michigan merit a massive discount in settlement value (offers).

We will focus on the Xarelto label change from 11/07/2018, AND an additional label change was made on 01/15/2019 related to Eosinophilia, which could be relevant to many of the Xarelto cases already filed as well as give rise to a Xarelto Litigation II, that could involve more injured individuals than the current Xarelto Litigation. The relevance and significance of the 01/15/2019 “Eosinophilia” label change will be addressed by Mass Tort Nexus in the near future.

Mass Tort Nexus has also received information that there is an ongoing investigation related to Xarelto potentially causing kidney injury, which may or not be related to Eosinophilia. We will continue to provide more information related to this subject in future articles. Given the new Eosinophilia warning and the investigation related to Kidney injury, and the 11/07/2018 label change related to anticoagulation tests (and the possible impact on future Xarelto case trials) Mass Tort Nexus understands why the defendants might be eager to reach a settlement sooner rather than later. Conversely, there is no reason why plaintiffs’ firms should believe the defendants to be in a superior negotiating position, nor be willing to accept subpar settlements for their existing cases.

It is worth nothing that the 11/07/2018 label change (admission) by the defendant that the most commonly used anticoagulation tests are “not recommended” (in reality likely have no diagnostic value) would make it far more difficult for the defendants to prevail in future trials under the Learned Intermediary Doctrine, as doctors would be less likely to testify that, “they would still do everything exactly as they did when originally prescribing Xarelto.” Had the defendant revealed the foregoing before the prior bellwether trials, the outcome of those trials may have been very different.  It is not surprising that the defendants are eager to settled Xarelto cases without having to face another trial post the 11/07/2018 and 01/15/2019 label changes.

Had the defendants revealed the information related to the most common anticoagulation tests used as “not being recommended” prior to the bellwether trials, doctors testifying in support of a defendants “Learned Intermediary Defense” would likely face questions like these:

 Plaintiffs’ Counsel:  So, Dr. Smith, I see that you performed an INR test to make sure that my client was correctly anticoagulated, that their blood was not to thick or too thin, is that right?

Dr. Smith: Yes

Plaintiffs’ Counsel:  Were you aware that as of 11/07/2018 the defendants recommend that this test not be used and in fact, the literature shows that this test provides no diagnostic value when a person is taking Xarelto?

Dr. Smith: It unlikely that Dr. Smith will say he knew the above when he prescribed Xarelto as he would essentially be admitting to medical malpractice.

Plaintiffs’ Counsel:  So, Dr. Smith, would you still today, follow the same protocol when prescribing Xarelto and use an INR test to make sure the dose of Xarelto did not have the patient’s blood to thick (likely to clot) or too thin (likely to bleed).

Dr. Smith: Unlikely that Dr. Smith would say he would still do what the defendant now recommends he not do.

Plaintiffs’ Counsel:  Dr. Smith, just out of curiosity, do you think the words “No Routine Blood Testing Needed” mean the same thing as “The blood test routinely used don’t work”?

The same line of questioning could be used for doctors that treated a Xarelto bleed or clot.

The contention that any label change could render a product adequately warned for all circumstances and facts relevant to every possible client injury scenario is somewhat preposterous; however, we will address and rebut the defendant’s contentions more directly. Although the Xarelto warning label has been changed numerous times since 2016, we only need to review the label change made on 11/07/2018 (see below) to conclude that the label was not adequate in any clients case in which the referenced anticoagulation tests were used in the “dosing” of Xarelto or the treatment of any Xarelto related injury 11/07/2018.

 11/07/2018 Xarelto Label Change

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/022406s029lbl.pdf

 5.0 Warnings and Precautions

 5.2 Risk of Bleeding

Reversal of Anticoagulant Effect

Additions and/or revisions underlined:

… anticoagulant activity of rivaroxaban. Use of procoagulant reversal agents, such as prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC), activated prothrombin complex concentrate or recombinant factor VIIa, may be considered but has not been evaluated in clinical efficacy and safety studies. Monitoring for the anticoagulation effect of rivaroxaban using a clotting test (PT, INR or aPTT) or anti-factor Xa (FXa) activity is not recommended.

Mass Tort Nexus Comment: The highlighted language above was added to the Xarelto FDA (U.S) 0n 11/07/2018, indicating that the use of PT, INR, aPTT anti-factor Xa (FXa) is not recommended. A more accurate statement (warning) would be that these tests have no diagnostic value and should not be used when evaluating dosing for individual patients nor treating bleeds and other conditions related to Xarelto, while the patient has Xarelto in their system.

 We will first address the 11/07/2018 label change as it related to the defendants contentions that the Xarelto label “adequately warned”  of the risks associated with label changes made in 2015 and 2016 as well as the justification (or lack thereof) for any discounts to base settlement offers arising therefrom.

Mass Tort Nexus opinion is as follows:

  1. At minimum, no discount is justified in any case arising before 11/07/2018, in which any of the anticoagulation tests now “not recommended” for use, where used by the prescribing physician immediately before and or any time after prescribing Xarelto, for use by the specific client. The doctor nor the patient were adequately warned with regard to these tests providing any diagnostic value that could serve to mitigate the risks associated with the use of Xarelto.  Additionally, for any client that presented at a medical facility (prior to 11/07/2018), with a Xarelto related injury which resulted in the use of the tests in the process of treating that injury, the warning label was not sufficient to mitigate the risks associated with the use of tests which the defendant now recommends not be used.
  2.  Today the warning label remains inadequate and no discount based on a contention that the warning label was brought into adequacy at any point in the past, is warranted. Until the defendants make further changes to the label including, but not limited to, giving the “anticoagulation” test “warning” greater prominence on the label as well as changing the “not recommended” portion of the statement to reflect a more truthful representation, that is less likely to be overlooked or misunderstood by prescribing physicians. An adequate warning would include information as to why the tests are not recommended (they likely have no diagnostic value).
  3.  It would be difficult for the defendants to argue that the fact that the most commonly used anticoagulation tests “are not recommended” for use in dosing Xarelto or treating a Xarelto injury, would not likely have impacted some doctors decision to prescribe the drug had they been previously warned prior to 11/07/2018. In reality, given the lack of prominence of the 11/07/2018 label change and the fact that no additional educational efforts are being made by defendants (that we are aware of), to insure that doctors are now aware that these tests are “not recommended” and in fact, likely have no diagnostic value, it is probable that the 11/07/2018 warning has not significantly decreased the risk posed Xarelto users, related to this new “warning.

 Before addressing Texas 82.007 and Michigan 600.2946, it is important to point out that one of the most Signiant claims made by the makers of Xarelto, in their effort to establish their product as being superior to Warfarin was that “no routine blood testing (anticoagulation tests) was needed” for patients using Xarelto. Patients taking Warfarin and other VKA’s (Vitamin K Antagonists) do require routine monitoring to insure their anticoagulation levels remain in a therapeutic range.

The “No Routine Blood Testing Needed” claim of the makers of Xarelto, made to the FDA and the public appears to have been very misleading. Mass Tort Nexus has yet to determine how the makers of Xarelto concluded that No Routine Blood Testing was needed for patients taking Xarelto. The 101,743 adverse event reports filed with the FDA related to Xarelto since 2011, is one indicator that “Routine Blood Testing” is needed to insure Xarelto user’s safety. If no Routine Blood Testing was needed, then why have Xarelto patients experienced such a high volume of bleeding and clotting events? The FDA warning letter sent to the makers of Xarelto (provided at the end of this document), is highly relevant to this topic.

If Xarelto was so well designed that a doctor could just assume that patients would be maintained with a therapeutic range (not too thin and likely to bleed or too thick and likely to clot), then why has the FDA received Xarelto 101,753 adverse event reports since 2011, many involving bleeding or clotting that might have been prevented with “routine testing’?

 

Texas and Michigan Cases

To the best of our knowledge, the defendant has yet to raise a defense under Texas 82.007 and Michigan 600.2946 in any case, much less prevail in arguments arising under these laws.

Neither Texas 82.007 nor Michigan 600.294 provide an absolute defense for drug manufacturers. Both state’s laws have language which provide a plaintiff with means, by which to overcome the presumption that these laws provide immunity for a given defendant. We will refer to the language in both States laws as the “savings clause” in the remainder of this article. We will also address each law separately with regard to the burden plaintiffs would face, in overcoming a defense raised under either Texas 82.007 or Michigan 600.294.

First, We Will review the “savings clause” for both Texas 82.007 and Michigan 600.2946 available to plaintiffs to overcome the presumption of drug manufacturer immunity arising under the two laws. See the relevant savings clauses and links to the entire statutes below:

Texas   82.007

(2)(b)  The claimant may rebut the presumption in Subsection (a) as to each defendant by establishing that:

(1)  the defendant, before or after pre-market approval or licensing of the product, withheld from or misrepresented to the United States Food and Drug Administration required information that was material and relevant to the performance of the product and was causally related to the claimant’s injury;

(3)(A) the defendant recommended, promoted, or advertised the pharmaceutical product for an indication not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

(B)  the product was used as recommended, promoted, or advertised;  

Michigan 600.2946

(5) In a product liability action against a manufacturer or seller, a product that is a drug is not defective or unreasonably dangerous, and the manufacturer or seller is not liable, if the drug was approved for safety and efficacy by the United States food and drug administration, and the drug and its labeling were in compliance with the United States food and drug administration’s approval at the time the drug left the control of the manufacturer or seller. However, this subsection does not apply to a drug that is sold in the United States after the effective date of an order of the United States food and drug administration to remove the drug from the market or to withdraw its approval. This subsection does not apply if the defendant at any time before the event that allegedly caused the injury does any of the following:

(a) Intentionally withholds from or misrepresents to the United States food and drug administration information concerning the drug that is required to be submitted under the federal food, drug, and cosmetic act, chapter 675, 52 Stat. 1040, 21 U.S.C. 301 to 321, 331 to 343-2, 344 to 346a, 347, 348 to 353, 355 to 360, 360b to 376, and 378 to 395, and the drug would not have been approved, or the United States food and drug administration would have withdrawn approval for the drug if the information were accurately submitted

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(5z3q41uoys1lzoajegixoc5p))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-600-2946

As a preliminary point, if any discount was justified arising under Texas 82.007or Michigan 600.2946, it should be minimal in light of the fact that the defendant has neither raised a defense in any individual case (to the best of our knowledge), nor prevailed in such a defense. A small discount might be warranted to allow plaintiffs to avoid the cost of litigating any matter raised by defense in the unlikely event that the defendants are willing to incur the cost of litigating the matter themselves.

Secondly, if any discount arising under Texas 82.007 and Michigan 600.2946 was justified, cases arising under Texas 82.007 would warrant a less significant discount than those arising under Michigan 600.2946, for reasons we will address below.

It is worth noting that the defendants must affirmatively raise a defense under Texas 82.007 or Michigan 600.2946 and doing so may expose their clinical trials, communications with the FDA, (including warning letters related to their advertising, one of which we have included at the end of this document), to discovery and scrutiny they may wish to avoid. Mass Tort Nexus would be interested in any internal communications, as well as third party communications the defendants engaged in related to the death of Arnold Palmer (including communications with his family) as we have long held the opinion that Xarelto may have caused or contributed to the death of Xarelto’s most famous spokesperson.

Comment: Texas 82.007, does not require a showing that any information that may have been withheld or misrepresentation made to the FDA was “intentional.” Texas 82.007 does not require a plaintiff to plead nor show that the FDA would, and the drug would not have been approved, or the United States Food and Drug Administration would have withdrawn approval for the drug if the information were accurately submitted. Michigan 600.2946, does require plaintiffs to show and plead that any misrepresentations or withholding of information and the drug would not have been approved, or the United States food and drug administration would have withdrawn approval for the drug if the information were accurately submitted.

Michigan 600.2946 obviously places a far more significant burden on a plaintiff seeking to rebut the presumption of immunity than does Texas 82.007. Pleading that a drug would not have been approved, or the United States food and drug administration would have withdrawn approval for the drug if the information were accurately submitted, can be problematic in light of the SCOTUS decision Buckman v. Plaintiff Legal Committee: https://www.loc.gov/item/usrep531341/

The foregoing should not be interpreted as presenting an impossible burden for plaintiffs to overcome under Michigan 600.2946 as was shown in the Second Circuit decision in DESIANO v. WARNER-LAMBERT & CO. https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1209786.html. Also see TAYLOR v. SMITHKLINE BEECHAM Michigan Supreme Court decision https://caselaw.findlaw.com/mi-supreme-court/1355001.html. These two well-reasoned rulings and opinions make it clear that 1. Plaintiffs can meet the requirements set forth in Michigan 600.2946 to overcome the presumption of immunity without running afoul of Buckman. 2. Plaintiffs can prevail in overcoming a defense raised under Michigan 600.2946 as they did in DESIANO.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the burden placed un plaintiffs under Michigan 600.2946 is still far greater than that placed on plaintiffs by Texas 82.007.  It appears that any defendant has a better chance of prevailing in raising a defense under Michigan 600.2946 than one raised under Texas 82.007 however, given the fact that Michigan has a population of 9,996,000,(3.05% percent of the U.S. population) while Texas has a population of 27,700,000 (8.45% percent of the U.S. population), would the defendants be willing to undertake the time and expense (and continued concern from the market) involved in raising a defense under Michigan 600.2946, which would not dispose of a significant number of cases, if they prevail given that there is no reason to believe that a disproportionate number of the total Xarelto cases on file arise under Michigan law. Additionally, would the defendant be likely to undertake the time and expense (and continued concern from the market) involved in raising a defense under Texas 82.007, with a far less likelihood of prevailing than in Michigan.

The plaintiff’s burden with overcoming a defense raised under Texas  82.007 is obviously less arduous that than the burden over overcoming a defense raised under Michigan 600.2946. Due to the foregoing, the defendant’s application of the same discount (if any is justified) to cases arising under Texas law to those arising under Michigan Law, is not justified.

 

Michigan and Texas Law and the 11/07/2018 Label Change

Texas 82.007 and Michigan 600.2946:

Texas 82.007: The defendants’ statements in the 11/07/2018 label change “not recommending” these tests are still arguably misleading given that the test apparently have no diagnostic value when a patient is taking Xarelto and more importantly represent important information previously withheld from the FDA and/or mispresenting to the FDA. A strict interpretation of C would not require a plaintiff to show that that the actions or inactions of the defendant were intentional. Arguably, the 11/07/2018 label change related to these tests could be rebut the presumption that the protection provided from Texas 82.007 is available to the defendant.

Michigan 600.2946: The same reasoning applied to the analysis of Texas  82.007 applies to Michigan 600.2946 in this matter with one exception, Michigan 600.2946 requires a showing that the defendants actions or inactions were intentional and a showing that the FDA would not have approved or would have withdrawn the approval for the product if not for the information withheld or misrepresentations made. MTN provides an analysis below aimed at showing what the defendants knew and when they knew it relevant to the warnings they neglected to add to their label until 11/07/2018.

Analysis

The following analysis is more relevant to Michigan 600.2946 than to Texas 82.007. There is a high degree of confidence that Plaintiffs would prevail in any defense raised under Texas 82.007.

In that overcoming a defense raised under Michigan 600.2946 requires a showing that the defendant intentionally made misrepresentations the FDA or intentionally withheld information from the FDA. Additionally, under Michigan 600.2946   plaintiffs must make a colorable argument that the FDA would not have approved the drug or would have later withdrawn approval, absent the misrepresentations or withheld information. The 11/07/2018 FDA label change related to anticoagulant testing would be an example of evidence plaintiffs might present to meet the requirements of Michigan 600.2946. In that Michigan’s law require plaintiffs show the offending actions or inactions of the defendant were intentional, demonstrating what the defendants knew (relevant to the referenced anticoagulation tests) and when they knew it would be important in overcoming a defense raised under Michigan 600.2946.

It should be noted that a defense raised under Michigan 600.2946 or Texas 82.007 exposes the defendant to broad discovery, through which plaintiffs would likely discover far more evidence to support their rebuttal arguments than can be discovered in the public domain.  For our instant purpose however, we will focus on determining when the defendant knew or should have known that the anticoagulation tests listed in the 11/07/2018 label change provide no diagnostic value for patients on Xarelto.

Mass Tort Nexus has conducted a review of the publicly available literature in order to establish what the defendant knew or should have know and when, related to anticoagulation testing with commonly used modalities and methods. We will not present a chronological listing (not exhaustive) of information in the public domain relevant to this topic.

 It should be noted that any information or data published in clinical literature must be developed over time (before it is reported). We can safely assume that any information reported in the medical literature in 2012 was known to the defendant at the time they sought the initial FDA approval for Xarelto, granted in July of 2011. If the defendants were to raise a defense under Michigan 600.2946 or Texas 82.007, plaintiffs would likely be allowed broad discovery which would reveal that the defendants possessed or should have possessed the information related to anticoagulation tests that they withheld from the FDA and prescribing physicians until 11/07/2018.

 No Exhaustive Review of the Literature

2012

The data below was taken from a presentation from Ohio Society of Pharmacist Association in 2012. Given the fact that the information below was reliant on clinical observations prior to the presentation of the below, it is likely that the defendant was aware of the issue related to INR testing, prior to seeking U.S. FDA approval (granted July 1, 2011)

Summary
• Dabigatran
– aPTT
• Appears to be a useful measure in hemorrhagic emergency
• Therapeutic ranges have not yet been established
– Ecarin clotting time
• Also useful in hemorrhagic emergency, but not widely available.
• Rivaroxaban and Apixaban
– Prothrombin time, but not INR
• Appears to be useful in hemorrhagic emergency
• Therapeutic ranges have not yet been established
– HepTest, PiCT, and chromagenic assay all appear to be
useful, but not commonly available

https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.ohioshp.org/resource/resmgr/annualmeetinghandouts/effects_of_new_oral_anticoag.pdf

 May 2012

Rivaroxaban: Quantification by anti-FXa assay and influence on coagulation tests: a study in 9 Swiss laboratories.

RXA plasma levels can be quantified accurately and precisely by a chromogenic anti-FXa assay on different coagulometers in different laboratories. Ingestion of 10mg RXA results in significant alterations of both PT- and aPTT-based coagulation assays.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21840043?dopt=Abstract

July 2012 Rivaroxaban: A practical Guide

INR testing should be preformed just before the next intake of Rivaroxaban on the INR measurement

http://www.uclmontgodinne.be/files/RivaroxabanPracticalGuide06072012.pdf

Thrombosis Journal 2013

https://thrombosisjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1477-9560-11-11

Because rivaroxaban and other target-specific oral anticoagulants have different mechanisms of action from traditional anticoagulant agents, laboratory tests used for these traditional agents (such as PT/international normalized ratio [INR] or activated partial thromboplastin time) are not suitable for target-specific oral anticoagulants

Pub Med   May 2017

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28476405

Direct factor Xa inhibitors such as rivaroxaban or apixaban may prolong prothrombin time (PT) and elevate international normalized ratio (INR). However, these tests are not reliable for assessing the anticoagulation effects of these agents such as rivaroxaban or apixaban may prolong prothrombin time (PT) and elevate international normalized ratio (INR). However, these tests are not reliable for assessing the anticoagulation effects of these agents.

See the warning letter sent from the FDA to the makers of Xarelto. Mass Tort Nexus believes more warning letters like this one exist and will continue our efforts to discover all relevant FDA communications. This warning letter is highly relevant to the prior subject matter of this article.

(FDA Link to June 6, 2013 Warning Letter to Johnson & Johnson Re: Xarelto Label is Below)

NDA 202439 XARELTO (rivaroxaban) tablets   

June 6, 2013

Johnson & Johnson International, Inc.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Food and Drug Administration

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Roxanne McGregor-Beck, Director

Johnson & Johnson International, Inc.

1000 Route 202 South

P.O. Box 300

Raritan, New Jersey 08869-0602

 

RE: NDA #202439

XARELTO (rivaroxaban) tablets

MA #215

Dear Ms. McGregor-Beck:

The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed a direct-to-consumer (DTC) print advertisement (K02XS121040 AF) (Print Ad) for XARELTO (rivaroxaban) tablets (Xarelto) submitted by Johnson & Johnson International, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson) on behalf of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. under cover of Form FDA 2253 and observed during routine surveillance in the January/February 2013 issue of WebMD magazine. The Print Ad is false or misleading because it minimizes the risks associated with Xarelto and makes a misleading claim. Thus, the Print Ad misbrands Xarelto in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 352(n) and FDA implementing regulations. 21 CFR 202.1(e)(5)(i); (e)(7)(viii), (ix).

Background:

Below is the indication and summary of the most serious and most common risks associated with the use of Xarelto.1 According to its FDA-approved product labeling (PI), in pertinent part:

Xarelto is indicated to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

There are limited data on the relative effectiveness of XARELTO and warfarin in reducing the risk of stroke and systemic embolism when warfarin therapy is well controlled.

 The PI for Xarelto contains Boxed Warnings regarding increased risk of stroke after discontinuation in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation and the risk of spinal/epidural

hematoma. The PI also contains Contraindications regarding active pathological bleeding and severe hypersensitivity reaction to Xarelto, as well as Warnings and Precautions regarding the risk of bleeding, use in patients with renal impairment and hepatic impairment, use with P-gp and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors or inducers, and risk of pregnancy related hemorrhage. The most common adverse reactions with Xarelto were bleeding complications.

Minimization of Risk Information

 Promotional materials are false or misleading if they fail to present risks associated with a drug with a prominence and readability reasonably comparable with the presentation of information relating to the benefits of the drug. Factors impacting prominence and readability include typography, layout, contrast, headlines, paragraphing, white space, and other techniques apt to achieve emphasis. The Print ad prominently presents various efficacy claims for Xarelto, such as, but not limited to, the following, that are presented in large, bolded and/or colorful text and graphics (emphasis original):

• “If you have atrial fibrillation (AFib)”

• “Ready to break your AFib routine?”

• “XARELTO® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem, that is proven to reduce

the risk of stroke—without routine blood monitoring.”

• “…With XARELTO®, there’s no routine blood monitoring—so you have more time for yourself. There are no dietary restrictions, so you’re free to enjoy the healthy foods you love. And there are no dosage adjustments, which means you can manage your risk with just one pill a day, taken with your evening meal. Learn how XARELTO® can help simplify your AFib-related stroke risk treatment….”

In contrast, the risk information is presented on the preceding adjacent page without any of the emphasis (i.e. color scheme, borders, layout, and graphics) used with the efficacy claims. The result is a presentation which appears unconnected to the efficacy claims and is therefore not likely to draw readers’ attention. This overall presentation misleadingly  minimizes the risks associated with Xarelto because it fails to convey this important risk information with a prominence and readability reasonably comparable to the efficacy claims. We note that the Print Ad contains the statement, “Please see accompanying Medication Guide on the following pages” (emphasis original) at the bottom of the page, and that risk information is presented on an adjacent page, but this is not sufficient to mitigate the overall misleading presentation.

Misleading Claim

 The Print Ad includes the following claim (emphasis original):

• “And there are no dosage adjustments…”

The above claim misleadingly suggests that dosage adjustments are not necessary with Xarelto. However, according to the DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section of the PI, the dose should be lowered to 15 mg once daily for patients with renal impairment who may have a CrCL of 15 to 50 mL/min. In addition, the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section of the PI states, “…Periodically assess renal function as clinically indicated…and adjust therapy accordingly….” Thus, patients with renal impairment may need to have their dosage adjusted while on Xarelto therapy.

Conclusion and Requested Action

For the reasons discussed above, the Print Ad misbrands Xarelto in violation of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 352(n) and FDA implementing regulations. 21 CFR 202.1(e)(5)(i); (e)(7)(viii), (ix). OPDP requests that Johnson & Johnson immediately cease the dissemination of violative promotional materials for Xarelto such as those described above. Please submit a written response to this letter on or before June 20, 2013, stating whether you intend to comply with this request, listing all promotional materials (with the 2253 submission date) for Xarelto that contain violations such as those described above, and explaining your plan for discontinuing use of such violative materials.

Please direct your response to the undersigned at the Food and Drug Administration,

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, 5901-B Ammendale Road, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-1266 or by facsimile at (301) 847-8444. To ensure timely delivery of your submissions, please use the full address above and include a prominent directional notation (e.g. a sticker) to indicate that the submission is intended for OPDP. Please refer to MA# 215 in addition to the NDA number in all future correspondence relating to this particular matter. OPDP reminds you that only written communications are considered official. The violations discussed in this letter do not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. It is your responsibility to ensure that your promotional materials for Xarelto comply with each applicable requirement of the FD&C Act and FDA implementing regulations.

Sincerely,

{See appended electronic signature page}

Zarna Patel, Pharm.D.

Regulatory Review Officer

Office of Prescription Drug Promotion

{See appended electronic signature page}

Amy Toscano, Pharm.D., RAC, CPA

Team Leader

Office of Prescription Drug Promotion

 

Read More

Xarelto Settlement: Dead on Arrival?

April 15, 2019

(Mass Tort Nexus Media) Bayer and Johnson & Johnson both issued press releases on March 25th indicating to the public, as well as stockholders and analysts, that the companies had reached a settlement to resolve approximately 25,000 claims related to Xarelto. This announcement was arguably highly misleading, in that the agreement reached has not actually resulted in the settlement of a single Xarelto lawsuit (to the best of our knowledge) and certainly not 25,000 cases.

This was the headline in Reuters:  Bayer, J&J settle U.S. Xarelto litigation for $775 million,see Reuters.com/article/us-bayer-xarelto/bayer-jj-settle-us-xarelto-litigation-for-$775-million

At the time of press release, in which Bayer and Johnson & Johnson led the public and the market to believe they had resolved (settled) 25,000 pending Xarelto lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of firms representing those 25,000 clients had yet to receive significant details related to the proposed settlement, and of course had yet to present any offer to their individual clients, who would have to accept any offer made before a case could actually be settled.

Law Firms attending the Mass Torts Made Perfect conference in Las Vegas last week received more details related to the defendants proposed settlement and the reaction was not positive.

Large Scale Rejection of Proposed Settlement?

Mass Tort Nexus has spoken with a great a number of firms who were in attendance at MTMP, as well as numerous others since that time, and the clear indication that we have received would lead us to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that the defendants proposed settlement will be accepted by enough firms (or rather their clients), to make going forward with the current proposed settlement anything other than a waste of time.

Law Firms that have been in contact with Mass Tort Nexus have indicated that they will fulfill their duty to present any offer made by defendants for their cases to the individual clients; however, they will not likely recommend that clients accept the offers made under the proposed settlement scheme. Many of the firms made colorful comments that we will not publish; however, there was a common theme among the comments:

“I would feel like I was selling out my clients if I recommend they accept the current offer the defendants have made.”

Others went as far as to say:

“I think it would be malpractice to recommend that clients accept the final amounts likely to be offered in this settlement scheme”

Dilemma for Bayer and Johnson & Johnson

The premature and arguably misleading public announcement, which would likely be considered official stock holder guidance, may create additional problems for the corporations already plagued by legal woes, which pose risks to their respective stock prices and stock holder value. If the proposed Xarelto settlement does fall through, as it appears will likely be the case, the companies will be faced with having to walk back previous positive news  “We have resolved the risk associated with the Xarelto litigation” to “not only have we not resolved the risk associated with the Xarelto litigation, but that risk may now be more significant than it was before we proposed a settlement, and many plaintiffs firms see it as more of an insult than an offer.”

If the proposed settlement was even close to something plaintiffs might except in significant numbers, Bayer and J&J might have been in a position to “tweak the settlement” and avoid having to deliver bad news to their stockholders and the public. Unfortunately for Bayer and J&J, the proposed settlement seems to be so far from “acceptable” that their only option may be to scrap the current proposed settlement and come back with another proposal, that will not be received with such strong resistance. If the two corporate giants have any hope of salvaging their messaging to the market, they will need to act quickly.

Proposed Settlement Appears to be a “Non-Starter” 

      

For now, it appears that there is no amount of lipstick that would make the proposed Xarelto settlement scheme attractive.  Most of the firms Mass Tort Nexus has spoken to have indicated that the defendants offer is not even a starting point.

 

 

 

 

MTN will provide more information in future articles about the proposed settlement, as well as the reasons a large number of firms do not feel the settlement is fair and just to their clients. At this point in time; however, it seems likely that the proposed Xarelto settlement is:

The Industry Comment

       XARELTO SETTLEMENT

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Why Didn’t Bayer’s October 2018 Forecast Include Monsanto Roundup Litigation MDL 2741? Several billion possible reasons!

By Mark A. York (March 25, 2019)

Jury Verdict Forms of March 19, 2019 Trial Findings Re: “Monsanto Roundup Caused Plaintiff’s Cancer”

Roundup MDL 2741 Federal Trial Jury Instructions of March 19, 2019

Roundup MDL 2741 Federal Trial Jury Verdict Form of March 19, 2019

 

Interim Report Third Quarter 2018

 

Explanatory Notes

Legal Risks

Product-related litigation

Mirena™: As of January 30, 2018, lawsuits from approximately 2,900 users of Mirena™, a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system providing long-term contraception, had been served upon Bayer in the United States (excluding lawsuits no longer pending). Plaintiffs allege personal injuries resulting from the use of Mirena™, including perforation of the uterus, ectopic pregnancy or idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and seek compensatory and punitive damages. Plaintiffs claim, inter alia, that Mirena™ is defective and that Bayer knew or should have known of the risks associated with it and failed to adequately warn its users. Additional lawsuits are anticipated. In April 2017, most of the cases pending in U.S. federal courts in which plaintiffs allege idiopathic intracranial hypertension were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) proceeding for common pre-trial management. As of January 30, 2018, lawsuits from approximately 400 users of Mirena™ alleging idiopathic intracranial hypertension had been served upon Bayer in the United States. Another MDL proceeding concerning perforation cases has, in the meantime, been dismissed. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the perforation MDL district court’s summary judgment order of 2016 dismissing approximately 1,230 cases pending before that court. In August 2017, Bayer reached an agreement in principle with plaintiffs’ counsel leadership for global settlement of the perforation litigation, for a total amount of US$12.2 million. As of January 30, 2018, a total of approximately 4,000 cases would be included in the settlement. The idiopathic intracranial hypertension MDL proceeding is not included in the settlement.

As of January 30, 2018, five Canadian lawsuits relating to Mirena™ seeking class action certification had been served upon Bayer. Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.

        XARELTO LITIGATION

Xarelto™: As of January 30, 2018, U.S. lawsuits from approximately 22,000 recipients of Xarelto™, an oral anticoagulant for the treatment and prevention of blood clots, had been served upon Bayer. Plaintiffs allege personal injuries from the use of Xarelto™, including cerebral, gastrointestinal or other bleeding and death, and seek compensatory and punitive damages. They claim, amongst other things, that Xarelto™ is defective and that Bayer knew or should have known of these risks associated with the use of Xarelto™ and failed to adequately warn its users. Additional lawsuits are anticipated. Cases pending in U.S. federal courts have been consolidated in an MDL for common pre-trial management. In May, June and August 2017, the first three MDL trials resulted in complete defense verdicts; plaintiffs have appealed all three verdicts. In January 2018, after the first trial to proceed in Pennsylvania state court had initially resulted in a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the trial judge vacated the jury’s verdict and granted judgment in favor of Bayer. Further Pennsylvania state court trials are currently scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2018. Bayer anticipates that additional trials will be scheduled.

As of January 30, 2018, ten Canadian lawsuits relating to Xarelto™ seeking class action certification had been served upon Bayer. Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.

Essure™: As of January 30, 2018, U.S. lawsuits from approximately16,100 users of Essure™, a medical device offering permanent birth control with a nonsurgical procedure, had been served upon Bayer. Plaintiffs allege personal injuries from the use of Essure™, including hysterectomy, perforation, pain, bleeding, weight gain, nickel sensitivity, depression and unwanted pregnancy, and seek compensatory and punitive damages. Additional lawsuits are anticipated.

As of January 30, 2018, two Canadian lawsuits relating to Essure™ seeking class action certification had been served upon Bayer. Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.

Class actions over neonicotinoids in Canada: Proposed class actions against Bayer were filed in Quebec and Ontario (Canada) concerning crop protection products containing the active substances imidacloprid and clothianidin (neonicotinoids). Plaintiffs are honey producers, who have filed a proposed nationwide class action in Ontario and a Quebec-only class action in Quebec. Plaintiffs claim for damages and punitive damages and allege Bayer and another crop protection company were negligent in the design, development, marketing and sale of neonicotinoid pesticides. The proposed Ontario class action is in a very early procedural phase. In Quebec, the plaintiff sought authorization (certification) of a class for which a motion was heard in November 2017. Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.

INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS THE BILLS

In connection with the above-mentioned proceedings, Bayer is insured against statutory product liability claims against Bayer to the extent customary in the respective industries and has, based on the information currently available, taken appropriate accounting measures for anticipated defense costs. However, the accounting measures relating to Essure™ claims exceed the available insurance coverage.

SHOULD BAYER HAVE INSERTED ROUNDUP MDL LITIGATION HERE?

https://www.masstortnexus.com/News/4362/Monsanto-Bayer-Facing-Over-11-000-Lawsuits-Over-Roundup-Cancer-Risk-As-New-Federal-Trial-Starts

Link to US District ND California Monsanto MDL 2741 litigation case outline and case related orders: https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/VC/roundupmdl

[End of Bayer-Mosanto Docket in MDL 2741]

March 6, 2019 https://www.masstortnexus.com/mass-torts-news/bayer-ag-completes-monsanto-purchase-whats-next-on-litigation-dockets/

Patent Disputes

Adempas™: In January 2018, Bayer filed patent infringement lawsuits in a U.S. federal court against Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited, Alembic Global Holding SA, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and INC Research, LLC (together “Alembic”), against MSN Laboratories Private Limited and MSN Pharmaceuticals Inc. (together “MSN”) and against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (together “Teva”). In December 2017, Bayer had received notices of an Abbreviated New Drug Application with a paragraph IV certification (“ANDA IV”) pursuant to which Alembic, MSN and Teva each seek approval of a generic version of Bayer’s pulmonary hypertension drug Adempas™ in the United States.

Betaferon™ / Betaseron™: In 2010, Bayer filed a complaint against Biogen Idec MA Inc. in a U.S. federal court seeking a declaration by the court that a patent issued to Biogen in 2009 is invalid and not infringed by Bayer’s production and distribution of Betaseron™, Bayer’s drug product for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Biogen is alleging patent infringement by Bayer through Bayer’s production and distribution of Betaseron™ and Extavia™ and has sued Bayer accordingly. Bayer manufactures Betaseron™ and distributes the product in the United States. Extavia™ is also a drug product for the treatment of multiple sclerosis; it is manufactured by Bayer, but distributed in the United States by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, another defendant in the lawsuit. In 2016, the U.S. federal court decided a disputed issue regarding the scope of the patent in Biogen’s favor. Bayer disagrees with the decision, which may be appealed at the conclusion of the proceedings in the U.S. federal court.

Damoctocog alfa pegol (BAY 94‑9027, long-acting recombinant factor VIII): In August 2017, Bayer filed a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court against Nektar Therapeutics (“Nektar”), Baxalta Incorporated and Baxalta U.S., Inc. (together “Baxalta”) seeking a declaration by the court that a patent by Nektar is invalid and not infringed by Bayer’s drug candidate BAY 94‑9027 for the treatment of hemophilia A. In September 2017, Baxalta and Nektar filed a complaint in a different U.S. federal court against Bayer alleging that BAY 94‑9027 infringes seven other patents by Nektar. Regarding the complaint by Bayer, Nektar and Baxalta gave Bayer a covenant not to make any claims against Bayer for infringement of that patent. Bayer amended the complaint to now seek a declaration by the court that the seven other patents by Nektar are not infringed by BAY 94‑9027. The patents are part of a patent family registered in the name of Nektar and further comprising European patent applications with the title “Polymer-factor VIII moiety conjugates” which are at issue in a lawsuit Bayer filed against Nektar in 2013 in the district court of Munich, Germany. In this proceeding, Bayer claims rights to the European patent applications based on a past collaboration between Bayer and Nektar in the field of hemophilia. However, Bayer believes that the patent family does not include any valid patent claim relevant for Bayer’s drug candidate BAY 94‑9027 for the treatment of hemophilia A.

Nexavar™: In 2015, Bayer filed patent infringement lawsuits in a U.S. federal court against Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Mylan Inc. (together “Mylan”). In 2014 and 2015, Bayer had received notices of an ANDA IV application pursuant to which Mylan seeks approval of a generic version of Bayer’s cancer drug Nexavar™ in the United States. In October 2017, Bayer reached agreement with Mylan to settle this patent dispute. Under the settlement terms, Mylan will obtain a license to sell its generic version of Nexavar™ in the United States at a date after the expiration of the patent for the active ingredient expiring in January 2020. In 2016, Bayer had received another notice of such an ANDA IV application by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. Bayer filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Teva in the same U.S. federal court. In January 2018, Bayer reached agreement with Teva to settle this patent dispute. Under the settlement terms, Teva will obtain a license to sell its generic version of Nexavar™ in the United States at a date after the expiration of the patent for the active ingredient expiring in January 2020.

Stivarga™: In 2016, Bayer filed patent infringement lawsuits in a U.S. federal court against Apotex, Inc. and Apotex Corp. (together “Apotex”) and against Teva. Bayer had received notices of an ANDA IV application pursuant to which Apotex and Teva each seek approval of a generic version of Bayer’s cancer drug Stivarga™ in the United States.

Xarelto™: In 2015, Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a U.S. federal court against Aurobindo Pharma Limited, Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc. (together “Aurobindo”), Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc. (“Breckenridge”), Micro Labs Ltd., Micro Labs USA Inc. (together “Micro Labs”), Mylan, Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc. (“Prinston”), Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC (“Sigmapharm”), Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Limited and Torrent Pharma Inc. (together “Torrent”). Bayer had received notices of an ANDA IV application by Aurobindo, Breckenridge, Micro Labs, Mylan, Prinston, Sigmapharm and Torrent, each seeking approval to market a generic version of Xarelto™, an oral anticoagulant for the treatment and prevention of blood clots, in the United States. In 2016, Bayer received another notice of such an ANDA IV application by InvaGen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“InvaGen”). Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals filed a patent infringement lawsuit against InvaGen in the same U.S. federal court.

Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses in the above ongoing patent disputes and intends to defend itself vigorously.

Further Legal Proceedings

Trasylol™ / Avelox™: A qui tam complaint relating to marketing practices for Trasylol™ (aprotinin) and Avelox™ (moxifloxacin) filed by a former Bayer employee is pending in the United States District Court in New Jersey. The U.S. government has declined to intervene at the present time.

Newark Bay Environmental Matters: In the United States, Bayer is one of numerous parties involved in a series of claims brought by federal and state environmental protection agencies. The claims arise from operations by entities which historically were conducted near Newark Bay or surrounding bodies of water, or which allegedly discharged hazardous waste into these waterways or onto nearby land. Bayer and the other potentially responsible parties are being asked to remediate and contribute to the payment of past and future remediation or restoration costs and damages. In 2016, Bayer learned that two major potentially responsible parties had filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. While Bayer remains unable to determine the extent of its liability for these matters, this development is likely to adversely affect the share of costs potentially allocated to Bayer.

In the Lower Passaic River matter, a group of more than sixty companies including Bayer is investigating contaminated sediments in the riverbed under the supervision of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other governmental authorities. Future remediation will involve some form of dredging, the nature and scope of which are not yet defined, and potentially other tasks. The cost of the investigation and the remediation work may be substantial if the final remedy involves extensive dredging and disposal of impacted sediments. In the Newark Bay matter, an unaffiliated party is currently conducting an investigation of sediments in Newark Bay under EPA supervision. The investigation is in a preliminary stage. Bayer has contributed to certain investigation costs in the past and may incur costs for future investigation and remediation activities in Newark Bay.

Bayer has also been notified by governmental authorities acting as natural resource trustees that it may have liability for natural resource damages arising from the contamination of the Lower Passaic River, Newark Bay and surrounding water bodies. Bayer is currently unable to determine the extent of its liability.

Asbestos: A further risk may arise from asbestos litigation in the United States. In many cases, the plaintiffs allege that Bayer and co-defendants employed third parties on their sites in past decades without providing them with sufficient warnings or protection against the known dangers of asbestos. Additionally, a Bayer affiliate in the United States is the legal successor to companies that sold asbestos products until 1976. Union Carbide has agreed to indemnify Bayer for this liability. Bayer believes it has meritorious defenses and intends to defend itself vigorously.

There is no official reference to Monsanto Roundup MDL 2741, even though an August 2018 verdict award for the plaintiff in California State Court was for more than $280 million, and showed that non-hodgkins lymphoma was caused by use of Monsanto Roundup herbicide containing Glyphosate. f

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuit/bayer-shares-slide-after-latest-roundup-cancer-ruling-idUSKCN1R02O3

 

Bayer legal Disclaimer October 2018: Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements contained in this communication may constitute “forward-looking statements.” Actual results could differ materially from those projected or forecast in the forward-looking statements. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include the following: the risk that the parties may be unable to achieve expected synergies and operating efficiencies in the merger within the expected timeframes (or at all) and to successfully integrate the operations of Monsanto Company (“Monsanto”) into those of Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (“Bayer”); such integration may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; revenues following the transaction may be lower than expected; operating costs, customer loss and business disruption (including difficulties in maintaining relationships with employees, customers, clients or suppliers) may be greater or more significant than expected following the transaction; the retention of certain key employees at Monsanto; the parties’ ability to meet expectations regarding the accounting and tax treatments of the merger; the impact of refinancing the loans taken out for the transaction; the impact of indebtedness incurred by Bayer in connection with the transaction and the potential impact on Bayer’s rating of indebtedness; the effects of the business combination of Bayer and Monsanto, including the combined company’s future financial condition, operating results, strategy and plans; other factors detailed in Monsanto’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2017, and Monsanto’s other filings with the SEC, which are available at http://www.sec.gov and on Monsanto’s website at www.monsanto.com; and other factors discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. Bayer assumes no obligation to update the information in this communication, except as otherwise required by law. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof.

BAYER LITIGATION DOCKETS IN MDL’s ARE STILL GROWING

ROUNDUP-MONSANTO-(GLYPHOSATE)-MDL-2741-(USDC-ND-California) Mass Tort Nexus Briefcase

 

XARELTO-(rivaroxaban)-MDL-2592-(USDC-ED-Louisiana) Mass Tort Nexus Briefcase

 

XARELTO-Case-No-2349–Philadephia-Court-of-Common-Pleas-Complex-Litigation-(PA-State-Court) Mass Tort Nexus Briefcase)

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  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
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Bayer AG Completes Monsanto Purchase – What’s Next On Litigation Docket?

Bayer now faces Roundup MDL 2741 along with Xarelto MDL 2592 and more than 30,000 plaintiffs

By Mark A. York (March 7, 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) The integration of Monsanto into the Bayer AG Group was completed as of August 2018, which by chance coincided with the $289 million jury verdict against Monsanto on August 10, 2018 in a California trial over its Roundup “glyphosate” weed killer. The state court jury found that Monsanto’s Roundup was the cause of plaintiff R Johnson’s fatal diagnosis of non-hodgkins lymphoma.

As part of the deal completion, there were numerous requirements set by the US Department of Justice including the divestment by Bayer of certain Crop Science businesses to BASF Corp., which had sales volumes of around 2.2 billion euros. Bayer already became the sole owner of Monsanto Company on June 7, 2018, by becoming the sole Monsanto stock shareholder, resulting in Bayer assuming additional liabilities related to Monsanto’s Roundup litigation dockets across the United States.

The acquisition of Monsanto creates a market leading worldwide agriculture company, with Bayer assuming a much more direct access route to the highly coveted US farm and crop markets.

As part of the Bayer acquisition, they have inherited the Monsanto docket of Roundup litigation pending state and federal dockets across the USA. There is a current Monsanto Roundup trial underway in the US District Court in San Francisco that started February 25, 2019 in front of Judge Vince Chhabria, in the first Monsanto Roundup MDL 2740 bellwether trial. See Mass Tort Nexus Roundup Briefcase ROUNDUP-MONSANTO-(GLYPHOSATE)-MDL-2741-(USDC-ND-California).

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been under scrutiny for years including when in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, identified the ingredient as a “probable carcinogen.” Monsanto has adamantly denied those claims. Bayer now faces a flurry of back to back trial is state and federal courtrooms with the first trial having just started.

Monsanto Roundup Trial Schedule 2019-2020

02/25/2019  – Federal Court – Hardeman (underway)
03/18/2019  – CA JCCP – Pilliod (2 plaintiffs)
04/01/2019  – St. Louis City Court – Hall
04/22/2019  – St. Louis County Court – Gordon
05/25/2019  – Federal Court – Stevick or Gebeyehou
09/09/2019  – St. Louis County Court – 4 plaintiffs
01/21/2020  – St. Louis City Court – 10 plaintiffs
03/23/2020  – St. Louis City Court

The German parent entity Bayer AG, has started aggressively divesting assets including their animal products division, cutting consumer marketing group costs, closing several US manufacturing locations to the tune of more than $3 billion. Where Bayer decides to put the recently acquired cash remains to be seen, since they are also facing more than 20,000 lawsuits in the Xarelto MDL 2592 litigation.

See Mass Tort Nexus Briefcase Re: XARELTO-(rivaroxaban)-MDL-2592-USDC-ED-Louisiana

MONSANTO ROUNDUP “GLYPHOSATE” MDL 2741

Bayer AG’s chief executive officer Werner Baumann, said this week the company might consider settling lawsuits over Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing weed-killers depending on how high court costs rise, but stressed it remained focused on defending the combined company against claims they cause cancer.

“If we can settle nuisances at some point where the defense costs in preparing cases are higher than potential settlement amounts, we will of course consider it from an economic standpoint,” CEO Werner Baumann told reporters when asked whether there was any scenario in which Bayer would consider settlement.

Baumann expressed confidence that Bayer could handle the litigation, and cited its “inexpensive” $12 million settlement of 4,000 lawsuits over its contraceptive Mirena device. Bayer also won five of six trials over its best-selling bloodthinner Xarelto, over which it faces 24,000 U.S. lawsuits. The sixth jury found in favor of a plaintiff, but a judge later overturned the decision.

“Due to our exposure as a pharmaceutical company, we have the experience to defend those (glyphosate) cases,” he said, also adding “the jury pool likely has grown more hostile” due to negative media coverage following the Johnson verdict.

Baumann said the company’s legal strategy had been revised following the integration of Bayer and Monsanto in mid-August. He declined to provide details, but recent court filings reveal some of the steps the company has taken.

Bayer recently added the attorneys from law firm Arnold & Portner, who won the Xarelto cases for the company to its glyphosate defense team.

As for the glyphosate verdict in California state court on August 10, 2018, Bayer believes that the jury’s decision is at odds with the weight of scientific evidence, decades of real world experience and the conclusions of regulators around the world that all confirm glyphosate is safe and does not cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently reaffirmed glyphosate does not cause cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and other regulators around the world have also concluded that glyphosate can be used safely.

CEO Baumann had invited German media to visit Bayer’s new operations in the former research and development facilities of Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri, when he made the statements on Monsanto litigation and bringing in the Bayer legal philosophy to support the ever-growing Roundup litigation in dockets across the country.

LITIGATION IMPACT ON BAYER EARNINGS

Shares in Bayer have lost 25 percent in value since Aug. 10, when a San Francisco jury awarded $289 million to Dewayne Johnson on grounds Monsanto failed to warn the school groundskeeper and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by glyphosate-based RoundUp and Ranger Pro.

Johnson has terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that he alleges was caused by the herbicides. The jury’s verdict is just the first step in this case, and it remains subject to post-trial motions in the trial court and to an appeal, as announced by Monsanto. As this case proceeds, Bayer believes courts ultimately will find that Monsanto and glyphosate were not responsible for Mr. Johnson’s illness.

Bayer denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says decades of scientific studies and real-world use have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.

The number of glyphosate cases that Bayer faces across the United States has jumped to more than 11,000, prompting concerns among investors about the impact of litigation costs on Bayer’s bottom line.

More recently, Bayer AG’s defense of Monsanto and its weed killer has taken a big hit after a major academic journal said Monsanto has improperly influenced study results related to a connection between cancer and glyphosate. . The journal, Critical Reviews in Toxicology a major toxicology peer review group that analyzes health risks of chemicals, now supports plaintiffs contentions that Monsanto ghost-wrote safety reviews into Roundup and its primary ingredient glyphosate and links to cancer.

Critical Review in Toxicology Issues Correction of Glyphosate-Monsanto “Roundup Study”

Sept. 27, 2018 – The academic journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology issued corrections yesterday for articles that were published in a 2016 supplemental issue dedicated to reviewing the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

The corrections indicate that Monsanto did not fully disclose its involvement in the five articles published under the title, “An Independent Review of the Carcinogenic Potential of Glyphosate,” which concluded that glyphosate was not likely carcinogenic to humans. The review was written by expert panels overseen by Intertek, a consulting firm hired by Monsanto.

Critical Reviews in Toxicology’s publisher, Taylor & Francis, issued a rare “Expression of Concern” because the review authors failed to provide “an adequate explanation as to why the necessary level of transparency was not met on first submission.”

The journal’s correction bolsters what Roundup cancer attorneys have been saying for years: rather than informing consumers and the public about the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Monsanto ghostwrote science and engaged in deceptive PR campaigns to create the impression that its blockbuster Roundup herbicide is safe.

The law firm of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, which represents nearly 1,000 plaintiffs in Roundup cancer lawsuits, issued the following statement on the journal corrections:

“This decision confirms, as we have long contended based on the documentary evidence, that Monsanto made substantial contributions to these manuscripts. However, while some of Monsanto’s involvement in these publications has been acknowledged in the corrections, the investigation by Taylor & Francis fell far short of revealing the extent to which Monsanto violated scientific standards and ethics in this “independent” review.”

The corrections, incorporating apologies from several authors for their declaration failures, are a step in the right direction but do not go far enough to address what we know to be true based on the evidence.

For example:

  • Another correction states that Monsanto scientist William Heydens “pointed out some typographical errors.” Based on the documents we have, Heydens was far more involved in drafting, editing and organizing the reviews than the correction indicates. In an email correspondence with Dr. Ashley Roberts of Intertek, Heydens admits to writing “a draft introduction chapter” for the series of reviews, then asks Roberts “who should be the ultimate author” of the introduction chapter he ghostwrote. Dr. Heydens’ full involvement in these reviews remains uncorrected despite the fact that many of his edits and revisions can be found in the published final manuscript.
  • The reviews were conceived as part of a company plan to discredit IARC well before the agency came to its conclusion that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. One of the plan’s stated goals was to “orchestrate outcry with IARC decision, ”while another plan made clear that the company sought a “WHO Retraction” and made it a priority to “invalidate relevance of IARC.” A Monsanto “Post-IARC Meeting” details several scientists that Monsanto pegged as potential authors. The meeting presentation also asks the question, “How much writing can be done by Monsanto scientists to help keep costs down?” In an email under the subject “Post-IARC Activities to Support Glyphosate,” Monsanto executive Michael Koch wrote that the review on animal data cited by IARC should be “initiated by MON as ghost writers,” and “this would be more powerful if authored by non-Monsanto scientists (e.g., Kirkland, Kier, Williams, Greim and maybe Keith Solomon.)
  • The authors of these papers cited previous reviews that were ghostwritten by Monsanto. In an email discussing the plan for the review papers, Heydens wrote, “An option would be to add Greim and Kier or Kirkland to have their names on the publication, but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak. Recall that is how we handled Williams, Kroes & Munro, 2000.”

While we are pleased that the journal will take steps to correct some of the falsehoods in the original declaration of interest and acknowledgment, and we commend the authors who apologized for their violation of disclosure requirements, the scientific integrity of this “review” was compromised the day it was published and, therefore, a complete disclosure of Monsanto’s involvement, ghostwriting and payments to the experts undermining any assertions of their independence is necessary.

Our release of the Monsanto Papers and their part in the recent Monsanto verdict clearly put pressure on these authors to take at least these steps toward correcting the misleading impression that their reviews were free of Monsanto involvement and direction. It is a shame that Monsanto and now Bayer refuse to apologize for their role in this affair. We will continue to put pressure on Monsanto and Bayer to vindicate the rights of our clients.

Allegations of Ghostwriting Central to $289.2 Million Monsanto Roundup Verdict

Monsanto has long maintained that the 2016 glyphosate review in Critical Reviews in Toxicology was independent, and the original Declaration of Interest underscored the company’s claim:

“The Expert Panelists were engaged by, and acted as consultants to, Intertek, and were not directly contacted by the Monsanto Company. Funding for this evaluation was provided to Intertek by the Monsanto Company which is a primary producer of glyphosate and products containing this active ingredient. Neither any Monsanto company employees nor any attorneys reviewed any of the Expert Panel’s manuscripts prior to submission to the journal.”

But according to internal company documents obtained during the discovery phase of the Monsanto Roundup litigation, it is evident that “An Independent Review of the Carcinogenic Potential of Glyphosate” was anything but independent.

Allegations of ghostwriting scientific literature on glyphosate and Roundup were presented in the first Monsanto Roundup lawsuit to proceed to trial. The suit, filed by former California groundskeeper, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, culminated in a $289.2 million verdict last month against Monsanto.

Internal company documents that are now part of the Monsanto Papers show that Monsanto scientist and executive William Heydens did not just review the glyphosate review; Heydens actually drafted and edited the work without disclosing his or his company’s involvement.

In an email communication between Heydens and Dr. Ashley Roberts, Heydens wrote:

“OK, I have gone through the entire document and indicated what I think should stay, what can go, and in a couple spots I did a little editing. I took a crack at adding a little text: on page 10 to address John’s comments about toxicologists’ use of Hill’s criteria…”

Heydens also argued with one of the paper’s authors, Dr. John Acquavella, about statements he wanted to include about IARC. In the comments of a draft of the paper, Acquavella deemed the statements “inflammatory” and “not necessary,” to which Heydens said, “I would ignore John’s comment.”

During a deposition, Heydens admitted that draft manuscripts of the glyphosate review were sent to him, and that he read “parts of them” before the paper was published. When asked whether or not he made dozens of edits to the manuscript, Heydens said, “I don’t recall.”

“Although I’m glad the journal is now on record finding that they were misled when publishing these articles, a retraction is more than warranted for this situation,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. Donley was one of four scientists to send a letter to the editors of Critical Reviews in Toxicology last year asking for a retraction.

“Furthermore, the journal appears to be allowing the phrase ‘an independent review’ to remain in the title of the issue. There is nothing independent about this review by any stretch of the imagination.”

Reviews Updated with New Acknowledgments and Declaration of Interest Sections

Several of the authors issued apologies in the updated Declaration of Interest sections of three of the five review papers, including:

  • Keith R. Solomon (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • David Brusick (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • Marilyn Aardema
  • Larry Kier (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • David Kirkland (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • Gary Williams (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • John Acquavella (former Monsanto employee, has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • David Garabrant
  • Gary Marsh
  • Tom Sorahan (former Monsanto employee, has worked as consultant for Monsanto)
  • Douglas L. Weed (has worked as consultant for Monsanto)

2003 De Roos Pesticide Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Study

In this study, researchers analyzed data that was originally gathered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the 1980s. As part of its investigation into the association between pesticide exposure and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in men, the NCI conducted three case control studies; one in Nebraska, one in Iowa and Minnesota, and one in Kansas. In case control studies, individuals with a disease, the cases, are compared to subjects without the disease, the controls. The goal is to determine if the cases were exposed to certain substances much more frequently than the controls. Researchers can use the data to estimate how much exposure to the substance increases the risk of acquiring the disease.

De Roos and his group, which included a number of scientists who had been involved in the three original studies, wanted to explore the effect of exposure to multiple pesticides (the pesticide group includes insecticides and herbicides like Roundup) on NHL risk. The researchers analyzed data from 870 cases and 2,569 controls. Men in both groups were interviewed about their exposure to agricultural pesticides and other risk factors for NHL. Forty-seven insecticides and herbicides were examined.

De Roos reported that nine pesticides, including glyphosate, were associated with increased incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is significant that only nine of the 47 pesticides were linked to NHL. This, says De Roos, suggests that the findings for these pesticides were not simply the result of recall bias (inaccuracies in the recall of the subjects interviewed) or bias related to the selection of the 47 pesticides analyzed in the study. In other words, the association of these nine pesticides with NHL did not just happen by chance or because of a fault with the way the study was conducted. The high toxicity of these pesticides can be seen in the fact that four of them (fonofos, chlordane, dieldrin and copper acetoarsenite) have since been banned in the United States. A fifth, diazinon, used to be a popular insecticide, but can no longer be purchased by consumers due its health risks to humans, particularly children. Yet another (atrazine) was banned in the European Union. This is the exclusive “club” of which glyphosate was discovered to be a member.

When De Roos restricted her analysis to just these nine “potentially carcinogenic” pesticides, she discovered a significant trend. The more of these pesticides a subject used, the more the NHL incidence increased. Subjects who used five or more of the nine pesticides were “twice as likely to be NHL cases than controls.” It turned out that glyphosate was a special ingredient in this “stew” of highly toxic pesticides. When De Roos removed it and repeated the analysis with just eight pesticides, the trend towards increasing NHL incidence when an increased number of pesticides was used disappeared.

De Roos makes an important point at the conclusion of this study. For regulatory purposes, government agencies necessarily focus on pesticides individually. But risks to the public are often amplified by exposure to multiple pesticides. Protecting public health must involve an assessment of pesticides not just individually, but as they are used in possible combination with other pesticides.

Summary Information

Title
Integrative assessment of multiple pesticides as risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among men

Authors
A J De Roos1, S H Zahm1, K P Cantor1, D D Weisenburger2, F F Holmes3, L F Burmeister4, A Blair1

  1. Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, USA
  2. University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
  3. Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA
  4. University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA, USA

Journal
Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Chemical Toxicology; 60 (9), September 2003

HOW MONSANTO MANIPULATED THE SYSTEM

Newly-released emails written by executives at Monsanto Co. show that Monsanto employees ghostwrote articles for independent scientists. Leading up to a regulatory hearing on the safety of glyphosate, Monsanto employees were looking for scientific studies showing that Roundup is safe.

Monsanto executive William “Bill” Heydens, Regulatory Product Safety Assessment Lead, instructed his staff to ghostwrite portions of a scientific article, planning to have scientists “just sign their names” to the study.

“Monsanto tells us that Roundup is safe because scientists say it is safe.  But apparently scientists sign their names, while Monsanto signs the checks,” says Kara Cook-Schultz, Toxics Director at U.S. PIRG. “This calls into question multiple studies written, or possibly ghostwritten, by agricultural scientists.”

Click here to see the actual unsealed documents with Heyden’s brazen ghost-writing plan.

 

Also included in the email chain is evidence showing that Monsanto regularly works together with other international chemical companies—such as Syngenta and Dow—to publish scientific papers. Christophe Gustin, Monsanto’s Crop Protection Regulatory Affairs Lead at Monsanto Europe, asked for Syngenta and Dow’s sign-off prior to hiring a scientist to publish the results of internal, unpublished studies on Roundup.

Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off by the US EPA, of a determination  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. The WHO cited direct research linking glyphosate to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The unreleased study results and findings were illegally handed over to Monsanto by US EPA deputy division director Jess Rowland as soon as it came across his desk. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication. Monsanto executives, in their internal email traffic, also said Mr. Rowland had promised to beat back an effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct its own review.

People should know that there are superb scientists in the world who would disagree with Monsanto and some of the regulatory agencies’ evaluations, and even E.P.A. has disagreement within the agency

People should know that there are superb scientists in the world who would disagree with Monsanto and some of the regulatory agencies’ evaluations, and even E.P.A. has disagreement within the agency.

To access the most relevant and real time information on Mass Torts  sign up for:

Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

March 8-11, 2019 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL

For class attendance information please contact Jenny Levine at 954.520.4494 or Jenny@masstortnexus.com.

  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
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Monsanto-Bayer Facing Over 11,000 Lawsuits Over Roundup Cancer Risk As New Federal Trial Starts

How Will Bayer Address Over 11,000 Lawsuits Linked To Roundup Cancer Risk?

By Mark A. York (February 28, 2019)

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) The troubles keep mounting for German pharmaceutical giant Bayer since it acquired Monsanto last June for $62.5 billion, as they now face thousands of lawsuits in state and federal courts.

In a just started bellwether trial in the Monsanto Roundup MDL 2741 federal litigation, plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, 70, the second plaintiff to go to trial against Monsanto, is claiming agribusiness giant Monsanto’s weed killer causes cancer. He claims his decades-long use of the weedkiller on his 56-acre Sonoma County property is linked to his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015

Last August, a California state court jury concluded that Roundup presented a “substantial danger” to terminally ill 46-year-old Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, and awarded him $289 million in damages. Lee Johnson became sick with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the spray for more than two years as a groundskeeper.

Hardeman’s trial is before a different judge and may be more significant. U.S. Judge Vince Chhabria is overseeing thousands of Roundup lawsuits and has deemed Hardeman’s case and two others “bellwether trials” in ROUNDUP-MONSANTO-(GLYPHOSATE)-MDL-2741-(USDC-ND-California). Six others trials are scheduled to begin this year as well.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been under scrutiny for years including when in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, identified the ingredient as a “probable carcinogen.” Monsanto has adamantly denied those claims.

The lawsuits pose a threat to Monsanto and its corporate parent, German chemical giant Bayer, which last year merged in the $60 billion deal with Monsanto. While Monsanto doesn’t break out sales of glyphosate, the product delivered $4.8 billion in revenue in 2015. In its last earnings report before Bayer acquisition, Monsanto said profits in its agricultural productivity division soared 30 percent due to “improved pricing” on glyphosate.

The Lee Johnson verdict award was seen as a positive step in the ever-growing litigation against Monsanto-Bayer, however that $289 million verdict was in California state court, and not the more restrictive US District Court in San Francisco where Judge Chhabria has bifurcated the trial, as well as prohibited admission of documents and research data that reflects badly on Monsanto.

The jury awarded Mr. Johnson, a school groundskeeper more than $289 million in damages after he claimed Monsanto’s best-selling weedkiller Roundup gave him cancer, and now the controversial ingredient – glyphosate — has been detected in popular kids’ breakfast cereals, including Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, according to an activist group.

Edwin Hardeman, 70, is the second plaintiff to go to trial claiming agribusiness giant Monsanto’s weed killer causes cancer. He claims decades-long use of the weedkiller on his 56-acre Sonoma County property is linked to his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015. Hardeman’s trial is before a different judge and may be more significant for the overall litigation, due to this being a bellwether trial, the results may set the stage for how the other cases are addressed in dockets across the country.

The outcome of bellwether cases help attorneys on both sides decide whether to continue fighting in court including at ongoing bellwether trials or look toward settlement.  A jury verdict in favor of Hardeman and the other test plaintiffs would give their attorneys a strong bargaining position in any settlement talks for the remaining cases before Chhabria.

Lab tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy group that specializes in toxic chemicals and corporate accountability, indicated almost three-fourths of the 45 food products tested detected high levels of glyphosate, which has been identified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization in 2015.

Popular children items, including General Mills’ Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal, Lucky Charm’s, Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran and Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats, all had levels exceeding EWG’s safety guidelines.

But makers of the foods EWG tested said they and their suppliers operate within U.S. government safety guidelines and dismissed the group’s findings as irrelevant.

Since the state court verdict won by Lee Johnson showed that juries can hold Monsanto liable, the Roundup litigation has made national headlines, and Bayer has been flooded with thousands of other lawsuits.

A Bayer spokesperson has stated that it would like “to emphasize once again that we disagree with the verdict in the Johnson case. We have therefore filed an appeal, and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously in all the other proceedings as well.”

Bayer added that glyphosate, which is the controversial active ingredient in Roundup, “is a safe product” and “that has been proven by numerous scientific studies and the independent assessments of regulatory authorities throughout the world over a period of more than 40 years.”

However, glyphosate has been under scrutiny for years, including in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization, identified the ingredient as a “probable carcinogen.”

Bayer stock has fallen more than 27 percent since the first courtroom defeat in August, and the boardroom must be concerend about additional plaintiff verdicts in the future and how this will affect their stock proces. How Bayer begins to view the Monsanto merger and the tag-along liabilities of thousands of Roundup lawsuits may force Bayer to begin settlement discussions in earnest. The German parent entity Bayer AG, has started aggressively divesting assets including their animal products division, cutting consumer marketing group costs, closing several US manufacturing locations to the tune of more than $3 billion. Where Bayer decides to put the recently acquired cash remains to be seen, since they are also facing more than 20,000 lawsuits in the Xarelto MDL 2592 litigation.

See Mass Tort Nexus Briefcase Re: XARELTO-(rivaroxaban)-MDL-2592-USDC-ED-Louisiana

The Xarelto lawsuits are pending in federal and state courts across the country where the blockbuster blood-thinner drug Xarelto is alleged to have injured and/or killed thousands while Bayer withheld and manipulated drug dangers and clinical study results.

To access the most relevant and real time information on Mass Torts  sign up for:

Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

March 8-11, 2019 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL

For class attendance information please contact Jenny Levine at 954.520.4494 or Jenny@masstortnexus.com.

  1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
  2. To obtain our free newsletters that contains real time mass tort updates, visit masstortnexus.com/news and sign up for free access.

 

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FDA STATEMENT ON BAYER ESSURE SAFETY OVERSIGHT AFTER BAYER STOPS U.S. SALES

 

 

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new steps to strengthen the long-term safety oversight of the Essure device following discontinuation of its U.S. sales

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2018

FDA Statement

When new safety concerns arise for particular devices, we’re committed to taking action to develop post-market information that can help patients and providers make more informed decisions and also support regulatory actions that reduce any potential risks to patients. We’ve taken a series of such steps with respect to Essure, a permanent birth control device. The product has been the focus of several important FDA safety actions. We’re announcing some additional steps today to make sure the FDA continues to evaluate the product’s long-term safety profile past its scheduled discontinuation from the U.S. market following a series of earlier regulatory actions that we took apply significant new requirements on its use. This includes the agency’s decision to take the step of making Essure a restricted device.

In July, citing the declining annual number of implantations, the manufacturer of the device, Bayer, announced that Essure will no longer be sold or distributed in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2018. At that time, I stressed that, even when Essure is no longer sold, the FDA would remain vigilant in its oversight of the device. This includes requiring that Bayer complete the postmarket surveillance study that we ordered in February 2016. I also affirmed that we’d continue to actively communicate with patients and physicians as new information about the device becomes available or as the FDA takes additional regulatory steps.

Today, I’m providing an update on new steps to revise and strengthen the manufacturer’s postmarket study, to make sure we continue to collect long-term safety information following the discontinuation of the product to better evaluate the safety profile of the device when used in the real world.

As part of the revised protocol for the postmarket surveillance study, the FDA has worked with Bayer to see that the manufacturer implements several approved modifications to the study that we believe will strengthen the evidence collected.

First and foremost, women in the study will be followed for five years, rather than the three years that was initially required. This significant extension follows the FDA’s request that the company go beyond the three-year period provided for by law. This extension will provide us with longer-term information on adverse risks of the device, including issues that may lead women to have the device removed.

Second, we’re requiring additional blood testing of patients enrolled in follow-up visits during the study to learn more about patients’ levels of certain inflammatory markers that can be indicators of increased inflammation. This could help us better evaluate potential immune reactions to the device and whether these findings are associated with symptoms that patients have reported related to Essure.

The FDA is also requiring Bayer to continue to enroll patients who might still opt to receive Essure in advance of its full discontinuation from the U.S. market, and to continue to submit more frequent reports to the FDA on the study’s progress and results. Since FDA’s 2016 decision to order Bayer to conduct the postmarket study and then to add a boxed warning and Patient Decision Checklist to the labeling, sales of Essure declined by 70 percent. Earlier this year, the FDA decided to restrict the sale and distribution of the device to only health care providers and facilities that provide information to patients about the risks and benefits of this device and that give patients the opportunity to sign an acknowledgement of understanding before implantation. In view of this decline in sales and the manufacturer’s decision to discontinue sales and distribution at the end of this year, we recognize that Bayer is having challenges reaching the study’s initial sample size that relied on enrolling patients who were newly implanted with Essure until May 2020. We believe that this new, revised study plan will help provide more long-term information regarding complications that may be experienced by patients who have Essure, despite reduced enrollment.

For the past several years, the FDA has been monitoring the progress of an Essure post-approval study that was mandated to gather long-term data on pregnancies occurring in patients who may have received a transvaginal ultrasound in order to confirm that Essure was properly placed in a woman’s fallopian tubes and could be relied upon to prevent pregnancy. The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health conducted an  analysis of an ongoing post-approval study data to gain a fuller understanding of device removals over time; they also completed their extensive evaluation into a significant collection of medical device reports submitted in 2017 and the first half of 2018 that mentioned issues involving potential device removal to learn more about why women were choosing to have the device removed, which usually requires a surgical procedure. CDRH also spent the past several months actively evaluating more than 15,000 medical device reports submitted to FDA in 2017 through June 2018 on the Essure device. (The majority of these reports referenced an instance in which the device was removed from a patient, and most came from cases that were made available by plaintiff attorneys as part of litigation against the manufacturer Bayer.) CDRH is providing some important new information about the removals of the Essure device learned from this analysis on our website.

Based on this information, the FDA instructed Bayer to extend the postmarket surveillance study from three years to five years to capture longer term information about device removals. We believe it’s important to continue closely monitoring device removals in the postmarket surveillance study to gain greater knowledge of this issue.

Following Essure’s removal from the market, the FDA is committed to continuing to monitor women who have the device implanted. In addition to the post-market surveillance study, the agency will continue its efforts to monitor Essure’s safety and effectiveness since its approval in 2002 by reviewing the medical literature, clinical trial information, post-approval study data and medical device reports submitted to the agency. This follows previous actions the FDA has taken, including requiring Bayer to add a boxed warning to the labeling of Essure and issue a Patient Decision Checklist to help women considering Essure to be fully informed about potential risks and the sales restriction that FDA placed on the product.

I personally had the opportunity to meet with women who have been adversely affected by Essure to listen and learn about their concerns. Some of the women I spoke with developed significant medical problems that they ascribe to their use of the product. We remain committed to these women and to improving how we monitor the safety of medical devices, including those related to women’s health.

We’re also advancing new ways to solidify our monitoring systems to achieve our new goal to consistently be the first among the world’s regulatory agencies to identify and act upon safety signals related to medical devices.

As we announced when we issued our Medical Device Safety Action Plan in April, we’re working to implement an active surveillance system to help us detect device safety signals faster, including for devices related to women’s health. We’re implementing active surveillance capabilities as part of our National Evaluation System of health Technology, which will leverage a wide range of data systems that could provide real-time information on device safety signals from electronic health information, such as registries and electronic medical records. We’re also continuing our ongoing efforts to strengthen our Coordinated Registry Networks (CRN), which link different real-world data sources to generate clinical evidence about medical devices used by patients.

We’re especially focused on addressing clinical questions for device therapies that address conditions that are unique to women, such as treatment of uterine fibroids, pelvic floor disorders, female sterilization (including the Essure device) and long-acting reversible contraception. To advance these goals, the FDA partnered with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Urogynecologic Society, the National Library of Medicine and others on this effort, which is known as the Women’s Health Technologies CRN, or WHT-CRN. Once fully implemented, the WHT-CRN can be used to answer crucial questions on medical devices for women’s health to help supplement the evidence we’re gathering from postmarket studies and medical device reports. It could also help us detect safety issues with medical devices faster, enabling us to take actions — like the implementation of special controls — sooner.

We believe women who’ve been using Essure successfully to prevent pregnancy can and should continue to do so. Women who suspect the device may be related to symptoms they are experiencing, such as persistent pain, should talk to their doctor on what steps may be appropriate. Device removal has its own risks. Patients should discuss the benefits and risks of any procedure with their health care providers before deciding on the best option for them. The FDA will continue to collect and review reports of adverse events associated with device removal and is committed to continuing to provide updates on our evaluation of this data as the information is collected and we develop new findings about the device.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For the most up to date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit  www.masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.

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Monsanto Lost First “Roundup” Cancer Trial in San Francisco Courtroom – Bayer Stock Drops 25%: Is Settlement Coming Post $289 Million Verdict

“Judge Reduced Verdict To $78 Million and Denies Retrial”

Monsanto (Bayer AG) Trial Loss Shows There Was Collusion to Stop Release of Cancer Link Data For Years

By Mark A. York (November 8, 2018)

DeWayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Is The First Lymphoma Cancer Trial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) A verdict in favor of plaintiff DeWayne Johnson was reached earlier today in the first trial versus Monsanto and claims that the weed-killer Roundup causes cancer.

On Thursday, afternoon, the jury requested additional data on the various studies referenced by expert witness in expert witness testimony.

Thirty-seven-year-old Dewayne Lee Johnson filed the civil suit against the pesticide manufacturer.
Case is DeWayne Johnson vs. Monsanto Company Case No. CGC-16-550128 in the  SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY, Judge Bolanos.

Johnson Trial Transcripts: Monsanto-roundup-lawsuit/dewayne-johnson-v-monsanto-transcripts(baum-hedlund)

Here is the day one opening statement by Brent Wisner, plaintiff trial counsel with Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman.

_________________________________________________________________________

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) Glyphosate is the most widely used agricultural based chemical product in history, starting when Monsanto introduced it in 1974, and worldwide use exploded after 1996 when Monsanto began selling “Roundup-ready” seeds- engineered to resist the herbicide, with now possibly catastrophic consequences in the United States.

More than 2.6 billion pounds of the chemical has been spread on U.S. farmlands and yards between 1992 and 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Roundup traces have been detected in over 50% of the food products being consumed in the US marketplace in numerous independent studies.

Monsanto earns $1.9 billion a year from Roundup and $10.2 billion from “seeds and genomics,” most of that category being Roundup-ready seeds.

In June, German pharmaceutical giant Bayer completed its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto after approval by U.S. and European regulators, even though the Monsanto name may disappear, the link between cancer and glyphosate will remain long after the merger. Will Bayer decide to settle or take the thousands of lawsuits to trial that are pending in federal and state courts across the country? Although U.S. and European regulators have concluded Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate is safe, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified it in 2015 as a probable human carcinogen, triggering over 5,000 lawsuits against Monsanto in the United States.

Plaintiff DeWayne Johnson’s skin-based non-Hodgkin lymphoma, was caused by his use of Monsanto’s “Roundup Weed Killer” and Monsanto has gone to great lengths to suppress any links between Roundup and cancer.

The current state court trial in California has shown the extraordinary lengths that Monsanto has gone to in order to suppress and manipulate hard core science and research results around the world that showed clear links between Glyphosate and Cancer, specifically non-hodgkins lymphoma.

To show the high level of interest in the Monsanto “Roundup” abuses, last week musician Neil young and actress Darryl Hannah were in the DeWayne Johnson courtroom, which reflects Young’s ongoing campaign against the many abuses of Monsanto placed upon the US farmers and others around the world. He even released a 2015 album titled “The Monsanto Years” along with a documentary “Seeding Fear” of which Young co-produced related to Monsanto legal action against Alabama farmer Michael White, over its GMO patented seeds. Link to “Seeding Fear can be found here.

In addition to the Johnson state court case, there is the Monsanto Roundup Multidistrict Litigation No. 2741 in the US District Court of California, Northern District where the same cancer links are claimed. Documents released in the Johnson trial and in the MDL ( see Roundup (Monsanto) MDL 2741 USDC ND California) have raised many new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the public opinion by collusion and steering of data published by the media, authors and scientific research publications, and revealed internal debate over the safety of the Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup.

The active ingredient is glyphosate, the most common weed killer in the world and is used around the world on farm crops and by home gardeners, with the largest market being the USA. While Roundup’s relative safety has been upheld by most regulators, the thelitigation against Monsanto and Roundup, pending in US District Court in San Francisco continues to raise questions about the company’s practices and the product itself. Thousands of plaintiffs from across the USA have filed suit against Monsanto-Roundup and as details of Monsanto’s attempt to suppress and influence the release of damaging scientific data are released the number of cases will only increase. There has been documented evidence introduced that shows Monsanto influenced high level US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) executives to suppress data and the release of reports that showed Roundup (glyphosate) was dangerous and suspected of causing cancer. Jess Rowland, EPA Regulatory Affairs Manager, stopped the release of a government study that was key in the investigation into the carcinogenic effects of Roundup’s primary ingredient glyphosate by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, see EPA’s Jess Rowland Stops Release of Report on Glyphosate as Cancer Agent. Rowland left the EPA in early 2017 and went on to become a highly paid consultant for Monsanto.

There are numerous documents and media articles that underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company has taken to protect its image, and the dangers of Roundup.  Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment.

A similar issue appeared in academic research. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, a former Monsanto employee, appeared to express concern with the process see Monsanto internal e-mail expressing concern over Roundup , in the 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, “I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.” He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: “We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.”

A Monsanto official said the comments were the result of “a complete misunderstanding” that had been “worked out,” while Mr. Acquavella stated via mail that “there was no ghostwriting” and that his comments had been related to an early draft and a question over authorship that was resolved. Even though there are other documents that refute this version of Monsanto’s “official” statement.

Monsanto has been shown to have actively ghostwritten, drafted and offered direction on formal EPA studies, press releases and other “official” documents, introduced in the pending Roundup federal litigation.

The documents also show internal discussions about Roundup’s safety. “If somebody came to me and said they wanted to test Roundup I know how I would react — with serious concern,” one Monsanto scientist wrote in an internal email in 2001.

Monsanto said it was outraged by the documents’ release by a law firm involved in the litigation, although the documents are now public court records, which Monsanto attempted to suppress being introduced into the litigation again and again since the start of the Roundup lawsuits.

Brent Wisner, a partner at Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, the firm that released the documents, said Monsanto had erred by not filing a required motion seeking continued protection of the documents. Monsanto said no such filing was necessary.

“Now the world gets to see these documents that would otherwise remain secret”, per Mr. Wisner.

To reflect “official corporate collusion and influence”  see Mr. Miller’s 2015 article on Forbes’s website which was an attack on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization that had labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen, a finding disputed by other regulatory bodies. In the email traffic, Monsanto asked Mr. Miller if he would be interested in writing an article on the topic, and he said, “I would be if I could start from a high-quality draft.”

The article was authored by Mr. Miller and with the assertion that “opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.” The magazine did not mention any involvement by Monsanto in preparing the article, as most co-authored articles provide.

“That was a collaborative effort, a function of the outrage we were hearing from many people on the attacks on glyphosate,” Mr. Partridge of Monsanto said. “This is not a scientific, peer-reviewed journal. It’s an op-ed we collaborated with him on.”

After disclosure of the stories origin, Forbes removed the story from its website and said that it ended its relationship with Mr. Miller amid the revelations.

“All contributors to Forbes sign an agreement requiring them to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and only publish content that is their own original writing,” stated a Forbes representative. “When it came to our attention that Mr. Miller violated these terms, we removed his blog from Forbes.com and ended our relationship with him.”

Mr. Miller’s work has also appeared in the opinion pages of The New York Times, which reflects the long reach of Monsanto’s attempts to influence public opinion.

“We have never paid Dr. Miller,” said Sam Murphey, a spokesman for Monsanto. “Our scientists have never collaborated with Dr. Miller on his submissions to The New York Times. Our scientists have on occasion collaborated with Dr. Miller on other pieces.” This statement alone reflects the formal relationship between Miller and Monsanto.

James Dao, the Op-Ed editor of The Times, said in a statement, “Op-Ed contributors to The Times must sign a contract requiring them to avoid any conflict of interest, and to disclose any financial interest in the subject matter of their piece.” Miller and Monsanto did not comment on the apparent violation of this Times policy.

The documents also show that the ongoing debate outside Monsanto about glyphosate safety and Roundup, was also taking place within the company.

In a 2002 email, a Monsanto executive said, “What I’ve been hearing from you is that this continues to be the case with these studies — Glyphosate is O.K. but the formulated product (and thus the surfactant) does the damage.”

As to the internal Monsanto views of a causation relationship between cancer and Roundup, where a different Monsanto executive tells others via e-mail see 2003 Monsanto email, “You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen … we have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement.”

She adds, however, that “we can make that statement about glyphosate and can infer that there is no reason to believe that Roundup would cause cancer.”

The documents also show that A. Wallace Hayes, the former editor of a journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, has had a contractual relationship with Monsanto. In a further example of Monsanto collusion and influence in 2013, while he was still editor, Mr. Hayes retracted a key study damaging to Monsanto that found that Roundup, and genetically modified corn, could cause cancer and early death in rats.

Mr. Hayes made a statement that he wasn’t under contract with Monsanto at the time of the retraction,  however he was compensated by Monsanto for the article after he left the journal. This seems to be a very indirect method of exerting influence on the public opinion via a direct method of paying for favorable treatment and influence by Monsanto.

“Monsanto played no role whatsoever in the decision that was made to retract,” he said. “It was based on input that I got from some very well-respected people, and also my own evaluation.” If this statement is accurate, why would Monsanto pay Mr. Hayes for an article determined to be inaccurate or misleading other than the retraction was of some benefit to Monsanto.

Monsanto has been proven time and time again to be directly responsible for corporate sponsored  collusion, influence peddling in both the public and private sectors and manipulation of data released to the public regarding the now known carcinogenic links of exposure to Monsanto’s primary product, Roundup and the main ingredient glyphosate.

With the Bayer stock in turmoil, more Roundup trials pending in the state and federal courts, add in the Xarelto and other mass tort dockets-the result is the Bayer executive suite is very busy these days. Will the time be right for Bayer to start serious settlement talks in the various MDL’s and state court consolidations they are facing across the country? That is the question on everyones mind in the mass tort universe.

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Why Did The FDA Approve A Drug 10 Times Stronger Than Fentanyl-When Opiates Are Still Killing Thousands

HAS THE FDA LEARNED ANYTHING FROM THE OPIOID CRISIS THEY HELPED CREATE?

Mark A. York (November 6, 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just The Opioid Facts

Drugs kill more Americans than guns, cars and AIDS. How we got here.

(Mass Tort Nexus Media) More than 175 Americans will die today of drug overdoses, which equals a 737 crashing and killing all the passengers on board every single day. But it’s not a plane crash. It is America’s opioid epidemic, one that unchecked could claim 1 million lives by 2020.

See also: Briefcases/Drugs/254/OPIOID-National-Prescription-Litigation-MDL-2804-USDC-ND-Ohio-(Eastern-Division) by Mass Tort Nexus

Who’s Minding The FDA?

A new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals.

The painkiller Dsuvia will be restricted to limited use only in health care settings, such as hospitals, surgery centers and emergency rooms, but critics worry the opioid will fuel an already grim opioid epidemic.

Also on Friday, the Drug Enforcement Administration released a report showing that prescription drugs were responsible for the most overdose deaths of any illicit drugs since 2001.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts urged the FDA to not approve Dsuvia last month, saying “an opioid that is a thousand times more powerful than morphine is a thousand times more likely to be abused, and a thousand times more likely to kill.”

To that, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that “very tight restrictions” will be placed on Dsuvia. This statement flies in the face of reality as proven by assigned federal agencies to monitor and enforce rules on the already existing opiates that have flooded the US marketplace and killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

So why should we think that anything is different with a new drug that basically comes under the same oversight umbrella as fentanyl, oxycontin and all the other prescription opiates? The DEA, FDA and anyone else assigned to monitor narcotic drug use, prescribing practices as well as marketing have failed miserably again and again.

FDA Claims Restricted Access

Dsuvia will not be available at retail pharmacies or for any home use, Gottlieb said. The medication, which comes in a single-use package, also should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that can dissolve under the tongue. Side effects of the potent drug include extreme tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.

Gottlieb said military use of the drug was “carefully considered in this case” as the FDA wants to “make sure our soldiers have access to treatments that meet the unique needs of the battlefield.”

Combined with the increase in overdoses, the fact that opioids are less effective than presumed creates a substantial public health problem. We are throwing large sums of public and private money at treating opioid addiction and related issues caused by a problem that could have been completely avoided by using more effective (and less habit-forming) medications.

In the midst of a national opioid crisis, the federal agency that monitors drug ads has issued a record low number of warning letters to pharmaceutical companies caught lying about their products.

The Food and Drug Administration has sent just three notice letters to drug makers busted for false marketing their medications to unknowing consumers, the lowest ever since the FDA historic decision to ease strict rules for drug ads in 1997. “It certainly raises questions,” said Dr. David Kessler, head of the FDA from late 1990 through 1996, who’s industry credentials would add weight to the issue of why the FDA is not doing more to monitor false marketing campaigns by Big Pharma and Opioid Drug makers in particular.

The FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion monitors all ads drug companies issue to make sure patients aren’t being scammed by false assertions or misleading marketing campaigns. This now seems to be the norm, based on the hundreds of lawsuits filed against Opioid Drug Makers in the last 3 months, and recently consolidated into Opiate Prescription MDL 2804 see Opioid Crisis Briefcase-Mass Tort Nexus, where Big Pharma is being sued by states, cities and counties across the country. The primary claim in almost every suit is long-term boardroom coordinated false marketing campaigns designed to push opioid drug prescriptions at any cost.

 FDA Told Not to Approve Dsuvia

https://www.cdc.gov/drug-overdose-data-death counts through Oct 2018

Drug overdose deaths hit the highest level ever recorded in the United States last year, with an estimated 200 people dying per day, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Most of that was the result of a record number of opioid-related deaths.

 

How Big Pharma got into opiates: In 1898, Bayer released heroin to treat coughs and other health woes. Soon, people became addicted to heroin, a narcotic and precursor to the current Opioid Crisis.

 Preliminary figures show more than 72,000 people died in 2017 from drug overdoses across the country. About a week ago, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said overdose deaths, while still slowly rising, were beginning to level off, citing figures from late last year and early this year.

The DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment, which was recently released, shows that heroin, fentanyl and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation. But federal officials are concerned that methamphetamine and cocaine are being seen at much higher levels in areas that haven’t historically been hotspots for those drugs. The DEA is also worried that people are exploiting marijuana legalization to traffic cannabis into the illicit market or to states that don’t have medicinal or recreational-use marijuana laws, according to the report.

The preliminary data also showed 49,060 people died from opioid-related overdose deaths, a rise from the reported 42,249 opioid overdose deaths in 2016.

Fatal heroin overdoses rose nationwide between 2015 and 2016, with a nearly 25 percent increase in the Northeast and more than 22 percent in the South. Most of the heroin sold in the U.S. is being trafficked from Mexico, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seize the most amount of heroin along the Mexico border, near San Diego, California, the report said.

Fentanyl and other related opioids, which tend to be cheaper and much more potent than heroin, remain one of the biggest concerns for federal drug agents.

The DEA has said China is a main source of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that have been flooding the U.S. market. China has pushed back against the characterization, and U.S. officials have stressed they work closely with their Chinese counterparts as they try to stem the flow of drugs.

Legislation that Trump signed last week will add treatment options and force the U.S. Postal Service to screen overseas packages for fentanyl.

Azar said in a speech last week that toward the end of 2017 and through the beginning of this year, the number of drug overdose deaths “has begun to plateau.” However, he was not indicating that deaths were going down, but that they appear to be rising at a slower rate than previously seen.

Pot Vs. Pills for Pain Relief

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary figures that appear to show a slowdown in overdose deaths from December to March. In that period, the figures show that the pace of the increase over the previous 12 months has slowed from 10 percent to 3 percent, according to the preliminary CDC figures.

Even if a slowdown is underway, no one is questioning the fact that the nation is dealing with the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in its history. While prescription opioid and heroin deaths appear to be leveling off, deaths involving fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamines are on the rise, according to CDC data.

The DEA’s report also noted that methamphetamine is making its way into communities where the drug normally wasn’t heavily used, the report said. Chronic use of meth, a highly addictive stimulant, can cause paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions, studies have shown.

As the government enacted laws that limited access to cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine — the ingredient used to cook meth with other household chemicals — or required the medications to be placed behind pharmacy counters, officials discovered the number of meth labs began to drop.

But the DEA has found the gap is being filled by Mexican and Latin American drug cartels that had primarily dabbled in heroin and cocaine trafficking. A saturated market on the West Coast is now driving the cartels to peddle methamphetamine into the Northeast, using the same routes they use for heroin and other drugs.

Officials also warn that because of more cocaine production in South American countries including Colombia, they expect to see larger shipments at the Mexican border.

Who Said “Pain Was The Fifth Vital Sign?”

“Pain as the fifth vital sign” became policy at VA clinics as well as VA hospitals across the U.S.

It seemed odd to equate pain with something like breathing, but doctors were advised by Purdue Pharma and other opiate makers to understand the need to “dignify” and take care of pain.

Across the country doctors seemed too willing to prescribe these opioid pills for chronic pain, patients seemed too willing to take them, and insurers seemed too willing to pay.

The Joint Commission began requiring hospitals to assess all patients for pain on a scale of 1 to 10, which some claimed caused more doctors to prescribe opioids.

Purdue gave the commission a grant to produce a pain assessment and management manual.

Officials from the commission and Purdue denied the company had anything to do with the content of the manual, co-written by Dr. June Dahl, who served on the speakers bureau for Purdue.

The manual told health care facilities the side effects of opioids had been exaggerated and that physical dependence had been wrongly confused with addiction. “There is no evidence that addiction is a significant issue when persons are given opioids for pain control,” the manual said.

Paid Endorsements In Studies

Purdue officials explained that studies on opioid addiction depended on many factors, including mental health. They cited a 2008 article by Dr. David Fishbain of the University of Miami, who analyzed 79 published studies, saying he concluded the prevalence of abuse or addiction was 3.27 percent, or 0.19 percent for those with no past addiction.

Fishbain responded that his study was misinterpreted and that addiction could be anywhere between 3.27 and 20.4 percent.

Commission officials denied its new standards encouraged doctors to prescribe more opioids, blaming drug trafficking as well as diversion and abuse by individuals.

At that time, the “evidence was broadly supported by experts across the spectrum that pain was undertreated and a serious problem leading to poor clinical outcomes,” the commission said.

The commission concluded that “millions of people in the United States suffer from pain, and failure to treat their pain is inhumane.”

The Painkiller Market

Since 1987, Purdue Pharma had been selling a timed-release drug named MS Contin, the company’s version of morphine. Seven years later, annual sales topped $88 million — the best performing painkiller Purdue officials had — but they faced problems.

Doctors knew how addictive morphine could be, and most were reluctant to prescribe MS Contin to patients suffering from chronic pain.

The even bigger problem? MS Contin’s patent would expire soon.

That meant generic drug manufacturers could make their own versions of MS Contin and eat into Purdue’s share of the painkiller market.

A generation earlier, Arthur Sackler, the brother of Purdue’s owners, had marketed Valium and other tranquilizers to women experiencing anxiety, tension or countless other symptoms. The drug broke all sales records, turning many women into addicts and Sackler into a multimillionaire.

The Sackler family planned to repeat that success with a timed-release version of OxyContin, the company’s version of oxycodone.

In internal Purdue documents obtained by the USA TODAY NETWORK, company officials gushed that OxyContin could become a hit in “the $462 million Class II opioid marketplace.”

These documents detail their strategy: They would first market OxyContin strictly for cancer pain, where doctors were familiar with oxycodone.

Then the company would pivot to the lucrative market of chronic pain, which afflicted at least 25 million Americans.

Purdue’s plan included targeting primary care physicians, surgeons, obstetricians and dentists. The company even targeted home care and hospice care nurses who would “rate the patients’ pain and make a recommendation on the type of opioid and dosage for pain control.”

The plan also included targeting patients and caregivers through Purdue’s “Partners Against Pain” program. “You are the pain authority,” the website reassured patients. “You are the expert on your own pain.”

The website declared that “there are 75 million Americans living with pain, although pain management experts say they don’t have to,” reassuring patients that doctors could control their pain “through the relatively simple means of pain medications” and that the risk of addiction to opioids “very rarely occurs when under medical supervision to relieve pain.”

To ensure that OxyContin became a hit, Purdue sponsored more than 20,000 educational programs to encourage health care providers to prescribe the new drug and sent videos to 15,000 doctors.

The company also hosted dozens of all-expenses-paid national pain management conferences, where more than 5,000 physicians, pharmacists and nurses were trained for the company’s national speakers bureau.

By 2001, Purdue was spending $200 million on marketing and promotion and had doubled its sales force to 671. Before the year ended, sales bonuses reached $40 million.

No Addiction Knowledge 

Dr. Fannin, who practices in West Virginia remembers sales reps from Purdue flooding doctors’ offices in Appalachia, where poverty and pain are constant realities.

The reps gave away fishing hats, stuffed toys and music CDs titled “Get in the Swing with OxyContin.”

“Every time you turned around, you saw their faces,” Fannin said. “We had a population of doctors with very little grounding in pain, and I think Purdue took advantage of that.”

Many doctors knew about oxycodone from Percocet, which combined a small dosage of the potent opioid with 325 mg of acetaminophen.

What many of those doctors didn’t realize was that oxycodone was nearly twice as powerful as morphine, delivering a powerful high to those who use the drug.

“It’s more like heroin,” explained Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University. “It crosses the blood-brain barrier more quickly.”

But the sales reps never mentioned that. Instead, they said OxyContin didn’t create highs like other opioids and was less likely to get people addicted.

Fannin recalled sales reps calling OxyContin “a revolution in pain care” and “much more effective” than the old drugs.

They also talked of studies, citing one that found only four of 11,882 patients — less than 1 percent — became addicted after using opioids. Portenoy and others repeatedly cited this research, with some calling it a “landmark study.”

The truth is it wasn’t even a study. It was a five-sentence letter to the editor that a doctor wrote the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the most part, Fannin believed what the sales reps were telling him, and so did other doctors in the region.

“Our knowledge about addiction,” he said, “was about zip.”

So they spread the opioid with their prescription pads, and it settled into the Appalachian mountains like the ever-present morning fog.

OxyContin, which some hailed as a “miracle drug,” became the blockbuster in 2001 that Purdue officials dreamed of, with more than 7 million prescriptions written and nearly $3 billion in revenue.

By 2015, the Sackler family, who owned Purdue, had made $14 billion, joining Forbes’ 2015 list of America’s richest families, edging out the Rockefellers.

MIDWEST AMERICA WAS TARGETED

According to sources at all levels from police and fire first responders to emergency room physicians across the country and analysts at the CDC, there’s been no slowdown in opiate based medical emergencies in the US over the last 2 years. Emergency response and ER visits for opioid overdoses went way up, with a 30 percent increase in the single year period of June of 2016 to June of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The increased emergency room visits also include more young children aged 3 to 14 years old, which truly reflects on the unknown number of who have access to still available opiates. These young children being able to readily find opiates at that age,  shows that anyone who has an interest in getting opiates can find them.  This often results in the inadvertent and tragic risks associated with younger victims who somehow are exposed and now being swept up in the opioid crisis.

Center for Disease Control’s Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said overall the most dramatic increases were in the Midwest, where emergency visits went up 70 percent in all ages over 25. This is a figure that’s is comparative to prior medical emergency spikes during pandemic healthcare

Recently two important medical reports on opiate abuse have emerged indicating that the opioid crisis may be at its worst point ever.

The first study comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency tasked with studying – and stopping – the spread of diseases, including everything from viral infections like the flu to mental health issues including drug addiction. Published in the agency’s monthly Vital Signs report, the study demonstrates that the number of opioid overdoses increased by 30% in a little more than one year from July 2016 to September 2017.

The second study comes from a group of VA medical personnel and public health researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), who wanted to learn how effective opioid prescription drugs were at managing long-term and chronic pain. As it turns out, opioid drugs showed less efficacy than non-opioid pain medications over a 12-month period – and in fact, over time opioids became worse for patients who had to deal with side effects that patients taking non-opioid medications did not have to deal with. Taken together, these two studies show that current opioid drug policies, procedures, prescription practices and standards of patient care clearly need to be rethought.

For Information on Opiate Litigation and other mass torts:

Kevin Thompson will speak on the Opiate NAS Addicted Infant MDL 2872 litigation as well as the status of opioid litigation and related issues at the upcoming Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

November 9-12, 2018 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL.

For class attendance information please contact Jenny Levine at 954.520.4494 or Jenny@masstortnexus.com.

       1. For the most up-to-date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit  www.masstortnexus.com and review our             mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.

      2. To obtain our free newsletters that contain real time mass tort updates, visit www.masstortnexus.com/news and sign up for                free access.

 

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XARELTO RECENT LABEL CHANGE: Is Rat Poison Safer?

A WHITE PAPER REPORT BY MASS TORT NEXUS

(The following information and conclusions are based on opinions formed after a review of relevant facts and data by John Ray and edited by Lisa Powell, Mass Tort Nexus www.masstortnexus.com)

XARELTO LABEL CHANGE AND CLINICAL TRIAL BACKGROUND

On October 11, 2018, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson) changed its Xarelto® drug safety label as follows:

Monitoring for the anticoagulation effect of rivaroxaban using a clotting test (PT, INR or aPTT) for anti-factor XA (FXa) activity is not recommended.

Rivaroxaban is an anticoagulant medication. Anticoagulants thin blood. Rivaroxaban is sold under its trade name, Xarelto®. Xarelto® is used to prevent and/or treat blood clots that could result in strokes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, in patients undergoing knee and hip reconstruction or replacement surgery, and for secondary prevention in patients who have had an Acute coronary syndrome event.

Prior to FDA approval in 2011, clinical trials were conducted to test the safety and efficacy of Xarelto® and to compare it to other anticoagulants. Trial administrators measured both the medication’s effectiveness in thinning the blood and how long it took to be within the therapeutic range. A blood test is used to measure the international randomized ratio (INR). The INR was used to determine the appropriate dose and dosage (i.e., amount and rate of administration) specific to each patient; or, in this case, each trial participant.

The safety label update made last week by the drug maker, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson) in effect states that the INR test used to gain FDA approval—and that doctors continue to use to dose and monitor the effects of Xarelto® in their patients—is arguably defective. Not only would this render the clinical trial results invalid but also bolster plaintiffs’ new and existing claims that the drug maker(s) failed to adequately inform doctors that there was no means by which to determine the correct dose and dosage for any given patient. Essentially a doctor would have to wait until the patient bleeds out or throws a clot before determining that the patient may not be on the right dose and/or dosage. In other words, the INR test likely has no diagnostic value and is no more effective than a shot in the dark.

Summary of Facts and Subsequent Findings

  • On October 11, 2018, the Xarelto® drug safety label was changed to “not” recommend INR testing to monitor the effects Xarelto® on patients
  • INR testing was used in clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of Xarelto® and to compare it to other anticoagulants prior to FDA approval and market release in 2011
  • Title 21 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulation requires that drug labels include a summary of essential scientific information including a statement of the recommended or usual dosage
  • Results from Xarelto® clinical trials using INR testing are at best, questionable, and at worst, invalid
  • A change to the Xarelto® drug safety label likely indicates that the drug makers failed to adequately warn that there was no means by which to determine correct dosage for any given patient
  • A pharmaceutical product for which correct dose and dosage cannot be established for a given patient is arguably defective in a significant way
  • Physicians that rely on INR testing without knowing that it may render inaccurate results could lead them to incorrectly dose Xarelto® potentially causing significant harm to their patients

Methodology Flaws in the Xarelto Clinical Trials

INR testing was used in the original Xarelto® clinical trials known as the ROCKET-AF and EINSTEIN DVT/PE trials. These trials were paid for by the drug makers—Bayer Healthcare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson). These trials were conducted to establish the safety and efficacy of Xarelto® and to compare it to other anticoagulants.

The following is an excerpt from the EINSTEIN DVT/PE clinical trial results:

EINSTEIN DVT/PE trial design: Randomized, phase 3, multicenter, open-label, parallel group,

active-controlled, event-driven noninferiority studies (EINSTEIN DVT and EINSTEIN PE) with patients receiving XARELTO® at an initial dose of 15 mg twice daily with food for the first 3 weeks, followed by XARELTO® 20 mg once daily with food or enoxaparin 1 mg/kg twice daily for at least 5 days with VKA, then VKA only after target INR (2.0-3.0) was reached. Patients were treated for 3, 6, or 12 months at HCP discretion.

In other words, Xarelto® was administered to trial participants and after a target INR was reached, they received a different anticoagulant—a VKA (i.e., vitamin K antagonist).

Given the drug safety update added to the Xarelto® label by Janssen on October 11, 2018:

Monitoring for the anticoagulation effect of rivaroxaban using a clotting test (PT, INR or aPTT) for anti-factor Xa (FXa) activity is not recommended.

Results from Xarelto® clinical trials using INR testing are at best, questionable, and at worst, invalid.

Thank You for Sharing. Not!

In May 2017—17 months before Janssen changed the Xarelto® label—Clinical Therapeutics, an international peer-reviewed journal, published an article entitled, “International Normalized Ratio Is Significantly Elevated with Rivaroxaban and Apixaban Drug Therapies: A Retrospective Study Published.” An excerpt from the article follows (emphasis added):

Purpose

Direct factor Xa inhibitors such as rivaroxaban or apixaban may prolong prothrombin time (PT) and elevate international normalized ratio (INR). However, these tests are not reliable for assessing the anticoagulation effects of these agents. PT assay sensitivity is relatively weak at therapeutic drug concentrations and is subjected to significant variations depending on the reagent used. Conversion of PT to INR may even increase the variability. We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study aiming to assess the prevalence and extent of INR elevation in hospitalized patients receiving rivaroxaban or apixaban as part of their home medications and to find out whether other existing factors could elevate INR apart from the drug entity itself. [Emphasis added.]

Methods

The data collected from 218 hospitalized patients׳ charts included PT and INR taken on admission, patients׳ characteristics, laboratory results, other medications regularly used, and coexisting clinical conditions.

Findings

No statistically significant association between INR elevation and the parameters examined was found in our study. INR was significantly elevated in both drug groups (P < 0.001), with 84.2% of rivaroxaban patients and 78.3% of apixaban patients presenting with INR levels above the higher limit of the normal range. Furthermore, INR was significantly higher in the rivaroxaban group than in the apixaban group (P < 0.001).

Implications

Both of the reviewed drugs significantly elevated INR. Moreover, rivaroxaban elevates INR significantly more than apixaban, and there are apparently no other factors affecting INR but the drugs themselves. Larger prospective studies are needed to confirm and clarify the clinical significance of these results.

In that the common tests used to determine the correct administration of Xarelto® are not recommended by the drug maker, how are doctors to determine what dose and dosage of Xarelto® is correct vs. what dose and dosage may render a patient over anticoagulated and more likely to experience severe bleeding, or under anticoagulated, leaving patients more likely to suffer the adverse events Xarelto® is intended to treat?

In other words, doctors have relied on—and may continue to rely on—the test that the makers of Xarelto® now say is not recommended to determine the blood-thinning effects of the drug without knowing that these tests were likely rendering inaccurate results which could lead to their treating patients in a manner likely to cause them significant harm.

If the means to determine the correct dosage to administer to a given patient does not exist, the product is arguably defective. In addition, it would be impossible for a drug maker to comply with the requirements of Title 21, as follows:

21 CFR § 201.56 (a)(1): The labeling must contain a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug.

21 CFR § 201.100(b)(2): Requires labels for prescription drugs bear a statement of the recommended or usual dosage.

Janssen’s Misleading Advertising Campaign

There are three types of anticoagulants used in the United States. Xarelto® is a direct factor Xa inhibitor type. Benefits claimed by its U.S. manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., include once daily administration of an oral pill, no dietary restrictions, and less testing requirements resulting in fewer blood draws. Warfarin, another type of anticoagulant, is a vitamin K inhibitor.  If a patient’s blood becomes too thin after taking warfarin, vitamin K is administered to reverse its blood-thinning effects (i.e., an antidote or reversal agent). While the INR measurement is an effective test to dose and monitor warfarin in patients, Janssen’s advertising campaign touting less testing requirements for Xarelto® as a benefit is laughable given that the INR test used repeatedly to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Xarelto® “is not recommended.” Until early 2018—approximately seven years after its market release–Xarelto® did not have a reversal agent, and to date, there is not a “recommended” test for doctors to accurately dose and monitor the effects of Xarelto® in their patients.

In 2014, the FDA required Janssen to add new language to its official warnings and precautions including an update to its “black box” because the test equipment used to measure the INR during clinical trials was deemed faulty. The black box is the strongest and most urgent FDA warning added to an official drug label. The update notifies patients and caregivers about certain risks and potentially dangerous side effects from Xarelto®. A year earlier, the FDA cited Johnson & Johnson for its misleading advertising campaign in contradiction to U.S. laws and regulations.

According to Recall Center, a consumer protection organization:

Since the drug’s release, there have been multiple updates to the label warning users of possible risks. In 2013, the FDA issued a determination letter to Johnson & Johnson advising them that their print advertising published in WebMD magazine earlier that year was misleading. They cited the following deficiencies:

  • Effects of the drug to potential patients were downplayed
  • Efficacy claims appeared to be disassociated from the potential risks
  • Assertions that Xarelto has “no dosage adjustments,” which the FDA noted is inaccurate according to the product information’s section on warnings and precautions, as well as its section on dosage and administration.

Because of these allegations, the FDA declared Johnson & Johnson to be in violation of U.S. laws and regulations that oversee drug marketing. [U.S. Food & Drug Administration. “Letter to Roxanne McGregor-Beck, RE: NDA #202439.” (June 6, 2013) FDA.gov. Accessed Oct. 27, 2014]

According to a 2017 PR Newswire press release published by Business Insider (emphasis added):

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare (OTC: BAYRY) are accused of downplaying the risks of taking Xarelto and aggressively marketing the drug as an alternative for warfarin in patients needing blood thinners to reduce the risk of dangerous clots. The companies positioned the drug as more convenient, calling for a once-a-day dose and eliminating the need for regular monitoring of a patient’s blood. However, the lawsuits charge that doctors and patients were not fully informed of the risks.

While Janssen’s Xarelto® advertising campaign claims:

And with XARELTO® you can

  • Spend your time how you want to spend it, with no regular blood monitoring

MISLEADING. A more accurate statement would arguably be:

Regular blood monitoring would be useless because it will not identify whether a patient is under anti-coagulated [i.e. clotting too much] or over anti-coagulated [i.e., bleeding too much].

  • Enjoy a full variety of healthy foods with no known dietary restrictions

TRUE.

  • Know it’s working, with no frequent dosage adjustments

MISLEADING. A more accurate statement would arguably be:

There is no means by which to determine if a dosage adjustment is needed in that the common tests to make such a determination are inaccurate in patients who have been administered Xarelto®.

It bears repeating:

A pharmaceutical product for which correct dosage cannot be established or determined for any given patient is arguably defective in a significant way.

With Testing, Rat Poison Can Be Correctly Dosed for Benefit

There may be no better example of why correctly dosing an anticoagulant is important than warfarin. Warfarin first came into commercial use as a rat poison in 1948. Correctly dosed, warfarin is an effective anticoagulant for humans; incorrectly dosed, warfarin is poison.

Unlike Xarelto®, INR testing is reliable for dosing warfarin. To optimize the therapeutic effect without risking dangerous side effects such as bleeding, close monitoring of the degree of anticoagulation is required. During the initial stage of treatment, the INR is checked daily. Intervals between tests can be lengthened if the patient manages stable therapeutic INR levels on an unchanged warfarin dose. Newer point-of-care testing is available and has increased the ease of INR testing in the outpatient setting. Instead of a blood draw, the new INR point-of-care test involves a simple finger prick.

Therefore, an anticoagulant that cannot be accurately dosed is arguably not as safe as rat poison.

———-

The foregoing is an observation of statistics and data related to Xarelto®. The conclusions contained herein are based on opinions formed by the author after a review of the relevant data. We acknowledge that others could draw differing conclusions and opinions based on the same observations.

 References:

https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(17)30242-4/pdf

https://www.recallcenter.com/xarelto/fda-news/

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/report-more-than-15-000-adverse-events-linked-to-xarelto-in-2016-1002203317

https://www.xareltohcp.com/dvt-pe/clinical-trials

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XARELTO INITIAL ROCKET & EINSTEIN CLINICAL TRIALS NOW SEEN AS FLAWED: ADD THE MAY 2018 FAILURE OF TWO LATEST BAYER/JANSSEN STUDIES = BAD SCIENCE

Xarelto Study Red Flags Ignored: Why were medical research professionals ignored when red flags were raised over the viability of the Xarelto Rocket AF and Einstein DVT study results? Now the clinical trials for both are considered flawed, and the two most recent studies, the “Commander HF” and “Mariner,” failed to produce clear evidence that Xarelto is able to reduce the rate of blood clots in certain high-risk patients or after an acute decline in their condition.

By Mark A. York (October 23, 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a prescription blood thinner created by Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. This drug is an anticoagulant for preventing blood from clotting, often used to treat deep vein thrombosis, atrial fibrillation, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and other conditions.

More than one study has shown Xarelto can cause a higher rate of internal bleeding, than other anticoagulant drugs and until very recently, there was no available “antidote” for stopping internal bleeding in patients taking Xarelto. With warfarin, vitamin K has been shown to stop bleeding but there is no vitamin K “parallel” for people taking Xarelto. For Xarelto, it can take 24 hours for a dose to get out of the body. That means that if internal bleeding starts, the patient may simply have to wait it out and hope it stops on its own.

What The Medical Studies Say About Xarelto?

The FDA has received thousands of adverse event reports regarding Xarelto and medical studies have examined the safety of this drug:

  • New England Journal of Medicine (2011): Published the ROCKET-AF study, which compared Xarelto to Warfarin in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation. This was the biggest clinical trial of this medication and it compared the effects of Xarelto to the effects of a similar drug known as Warfarin in over 14,000 patients. The study concluded that “there was not significant between-group difference in the risk of major bleeding.”
  • Archives of Internal Medicine (2012): The study discussed the risk of uncontrollable bleeding outweighing the benefits for several different blood thinners including Xarelto. The researchers in this study found that there was a tripled risk of bleeding among the patients, who were given the drug, and no improvement in overall survival rates.
  • Institute for Safe Medication Practices (2012): Issued a report based on FDA data from the first quarter of 2012. During this period, the FDA received 356 adverse event reports of Xarelto side effects including “serious, disabling, or fatal injury.” Additionally, 158 reports indicated blood clots were the serious side effect.
  • New England Journal of Medicine (2013): Published the results of the ROCKET study, which found that Xarelto may carry an increased risk of bleeding.
  • Medscape (2013): Xarelto is associated with a higher risk of bleeding in certain patients. It caused a nearly 3-fold increase of the risk of bleeding in “acutely ill patients” and 4-fold increased risk of major bleeding in patients that had “Acute Coronary Syndrome” (ACS).

Drug Makers Failed To Disclose Faulty Device In Xarelto Trials

 Rivaroxaban and the ROCKET AF trial issue chronicles: A closer look at benefit risk profile of the drug.

  • BMJ2016354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5131 (Published 28 September 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i5131
  • Study Analysis: There has been a lot of hue and cry over the recent question raised about the ROCKET AF[1] trial for rivaroxaban which was the only trial used by the company for drug approval from USFDA. This is indeed a very important concern as it directly impacts the well-being of the patients who are at the receiving end of this very highly prescribed anticoagulant drug in 2014.[2] The main concern with this whole confusion surrounding the ROCKET AF trial is that the device used for measuring the INR in trial arm of warfarin patient was faulty and gave lower INR values than it should have, leading to over dosing of warfarin and thereby increasing bleeding problems with the same, compared to the trial arm of rivaroxaban. However, there has been a reanalysis done by the ROCKET AF researchers, which again reinforced the prior result database of the trial and which was accepted by FDA as well[3]. In the reanalysis, the US FDA clearly mentioned that the effect of the faulty device results in causing bleeding episodes, both minor and major, was minimal.[4]
  • However, following this reanalysis, not everyone who raised the question in the first place was convinced and there was a demand that the data of the complete ROCKET AF trial should be made public for everyone to assess and understand the risks. But since the trial was done and results released before the principles on responsible clinical trial data sharing came into effect, the parent pharmaceutical company for rivaroxaban refused to share the patient level details, citing concerns on privacy and transparency policy [5].
  • In spite of everything said and written for and against this issue, a simple question arises, regarding the amount of belief, honesty and hard work that goes without questioning when you bring a new chemical entity to the research stage, get it approved and then bring it to market. For this to happen, there have to be maintained a very fine balance between pharmaceutical companies, drug regulatory authorities and marketing people. In this case, after initial suspicions, the drug regulatory authorities have cleared and supported the approval of rivaroxaban after reanalysis and that should have a say, in case we want to continue trust with this process of drug entry into the market.
  • Rivaroxaban has shown its efficacy and safety both in patients who required adequate anticoagulation e.g. those who had atrial fibrillation and underwent cardioversion. There are few other trials where rivaroxaban has performed better or equally good than warfarin in terms of both efficacy and safety [6]. These results lead us to believe that all was not wrong with the ROCKET AF trial results. All these, combined with personal experiences of those physicians who had been using the drug rivaroxaban for the last couple of years with a hugely favorable result clearly imply that the drug rivaroxaban is holding its side strongly in the midst of all the controversies surrounding its approval and efficacy and it is here to stay. Adding a last word to all this discussion is that rivaroxaban will always hold an upper hand compared to warfarin when prescribed because of its very favorable and easy to use once daily dosing. We cannot discard all the positive reports and positive experiences associated with this drug, based on real time data, only because of the question raised by some, and considering the fact that the question had been satisficatorily answered with a re analysis with no change in the result.

What Did Or Didn’t The FDA Do About Xarelto?

  • In July, 2011, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved the medicine for sale on the market for a limited group of people. This included people who had knee or hip replacement surgery because they were considered to be at a higher risk of blood clotting. Read the FDA News Release here.
  • In November, 2011, Xarelto was approved for a larger group of people, including people with an abnormal heart rhythm, and was used to prevent stroke. Read further.
  • In June, 2012, an FDA advisory panel voted against approving this medicine for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome.
  • In November, 2012, Xarelto was later approved for general treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) after a fast track regulatory review by the FDA. Read more.
  • October 22, 2014, the FDA issued a recall for approximately 13,500 bottles of Xarelto after receiving a customer complaint about contamination in a sales sample.
  • January 12, 2015 – An antidote may have been discovered by Portola Pharmaceuticals for Xarelto. A late-stage clinical trial of the intravenous medication, andexanet alfa, met its goal of “immediately and significantly” reversing Xarelto.

The approval history for Xarelto was actually pretty controversial. FDA reviewers originally said that they recommended against approval, then there was an FDA advisory committee (independent group of key opinion leaders) and they voted in favor, so the FDA approved the drug. Their concern was with how the Phase III trials were run and whether Xarelto had really proved its efficacy. The tests compared patients on warfarin to patients on Xarelto, but the patients on the warfarin run had poor TTR. That means the patients weren’t well controlled on warfarin to begin with, which skews the data in favor of Xarelto.

During the approval process, Xarelto actually wanted a superiority label, which would say that the drug was better than warfarin and other blood thinners. Because of the concerns with the Phase III data, the FDA only gave them a non-inferior label, which says they’re essentially the same in terms of effectiveness.

The INRatio device was the subject of two FDA warning letters about inaccurate readings just as the trial was starting in 2005 and 2006. In 2014, the device was recalled. The use of the INRatio device may have skewed the results with inaccurate readings, making Xarelto look better in comparison with warfarin.

In a 2017 annual report issued by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), it was stated that oral anticoagulant drugs, including Xarelto (rivaroxaban), showed “unacceptably high risks,” according to two government data sources, the FAERS adverse events reports for 2016 and a new systematic study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Overall, the CDC found in its systematic study that the FDA’s FAERS voluntary reporting underestimates anticoagulant drug-related injuries. The CDC discovered that approximately 228,600 emergency department visits occur each year due to the use of blood thinner drugs, including Xarelto, which is 10 times more than the FAERS total number of voluntary reports.

Xarelto Clinical Trial Red Flags

Controversy Surrounding ROCKET-AF: A Call for Transparency, But Should We Be Changing Practice?

Jason D Matos1 and Peter J Zimetbaum1,,2

Arrhythm Electrophysiol Rev. 2016 May; 5(1): 12–13.

doi:  [10.15420/aer.2016.24.2]

Prior to the emergence of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACS), nearly all patients were prescribed vitamin K antagonists for thromboembolic prophylaxis in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). Rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Bayer/Johnson & Johnson), an oral factor Xa inhibitor, is now one of the most frequently prescribed NOACs used for this indication.1,2

ROCKET-AF (Rivaroxaban Once Daily Oral Direct Factor Xa Inhibition Compared with Vitamin K Antagonism for Prevention of Stroke and Embolism Trial in Atrial Fibrillation), published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011, demonstrated the non-inferiority of rivaroxaban compared with warfarin for the primary prevention of stroke or systemic embolism in patients with AF. This double-blinded randomised trial, which included 14,264 patients across 45 countries, also showed no significant difference in the risk of major bleeding between these two groups.3

Rivaroxaban use in AF has become widespread since the publication of this trial and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Two additional Factor Xa inhibitors, apixaban and edoxaban, have also been evaluated in similar randomised trials and have demonstrated non-inferiority to warfarin for stroke or systemic embolism prophylaxis in patients with non-valvular AF with no significant difference in major bleeding.4,5

In recent months, the results of ROCKET-AF have come into question after the FDA issued a recall notice for the device used to obtain International Normalised Ratio (INR) measurements in the warfarin control group. The FDA found that lower INR values were seen with the ‘point-of-care’ INRatio Monitor System (Alere) compared with a plasma-based laboratory in patients with certain medical conditions.2 These conditions included abnormal haemoglobin levels, abnormal bleeding and abnormal fibrinogen levels.6Since the FDA recall of this device, there has been widespread concern that falsely low INR readings in ROCKET-AF may have led to warfarin overdosing. Inappropriately high warfarin dosing could have increased bleeding rates in the control group and therefore made the rivaroxaban arm appear falsely favourable.7 This point-of-care device recall also highlighted a lack of transparency of the specifics of devices used in large clinical trials.

In response, the authors from ROCKET-AF released a correspondence in February 2016, citing the FDA recall. They also provided a post hoc analysis of patients who may have been affected by the recall. They found that major bleeding was greater in patients with conditions affected by the recall, but, reassuringly, the bleeding risk was greater in those who were on rivaroxaban and not warfarin.6

Despite this post hoc analysis, concern has arisen regarding the generalisability of ROCKET-AF given the faulty point-of-care INR readings. There has been a call for complete transparency of the data from this trial and a better explanation of the mechanism of the incorrect INR measurements.7

Once published, the data supporting an FDA-approved treatment should be available for independent analysis. One issue is that rivaroxaban was approved in the US prior to 1 January 2014, before a new transparency policy on clinical trial data sharing was approved by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).2 Drug companies are refusing to share any data on pharmaceuticals approved before 2014.

A device malfunction in a large clinical trial also should raise concern, especially when that trial has altered clinical practice for millions of patients. On review of Patel et al’s correspondence regarding the point-of-care malfunction, there is inadequate explanation of the mechanism of these faulty readings. Why are they only seen only in patients with abnormal haemoglobin and fibrinogen levels? How inaccurate could the readings be – within 0.1 or 1.0 of a gold standard value? Most alarming is the revelation that the manufacturer had evidence of faulty readings in similar models dating back to 2002.2

Despite legitimate concerns regarding the absence of data transparency and the faulty point-of-care device, rivaroxaban need not be removed from clinical practice for AF patients. In ROCKET-AF, the drug demonstrated non-inferiority to warfarin in preventing thromboembolic events. In addition, data has shown that patients potentially affected by the faulty point-of-care device actually bled more on rivaroxaban than warfarin.6 Therefore, the original risk–benefit ratio presented in ROCKET-AF remains true.

There are other, albeit smaller, randomised trials with shorter follow-up times that compare rivaroxaban and warfarin for thromboembolic prophylaxis.8,9 For example, Cappato et al in 2014, randomised 1,504 patients to show that oral rivaroxaban was non-inferior to warfarin in preventing a composite endpoint of stroke, transient ischaemic attack, peripheral embolism, myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death in patients with AF undergoing cardioversion. Major bleeding rates in the rivaroxaban and warfarin arms were similar (0.6 % versus 0.8 % respectively).8

The prospective observational trial XANTUS (Xarelto for Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation) followed 6.784 patients on rivaroxaban for AF during a mean time of 329 days at 311 different hospitals. Major bleeding occurred in 128 patients (2.1 events/100 patient years) and 43 patients (0.7 events/100 patient years) suffered a stroke. These numbers are more reassuring than those seen in ROCKET-AF, though the patient population had a lower risk profile, with an average CHADS2 score of 2.0 compared with 3.5 in ROCKET-AF.10

To further mitigate concern regarding inaccuracies of bleeding rates in the ROCKET-AF control group, it is helpful to compare bleeding rates in the warfarin arms of the other major NOAC trials. The RE-LY (Randomised Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy) trial, had a warfarin-arm major bleeding rate of 3.4%/year.11 The ARISTOTLE (Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation) trial, had a warfarin-arm major bleeding rate of 3.1%/year.4 The ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48 (Effective Anticoagulation with Factor Xa Next Generation in Atrial Fibrillation-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 48) trial, had a warfarin-arm major bleeding rate of 3.4 %/year.5The warfarin arm of ROCKET-AF had a 3.4 %/year major bleeding rate, comparable to the other studies. Furthermore, the ROCKET-AF patients are known to be at higher risk for stroke and bleeding; their average CHADS2 score was highest among these studies (3.5 compared with 2.1–2.8).3 In addition, ROCKET-AF had a very high percentage of patients with a HAS-BLED score ≥3 (62 %) compared with the other studies (23 % in ARISTOTLE and 51 % in ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48).1214

Several large randomised trials have compared the safety and efficacy of rivaroxaban versus warfarin for venous thromboembolic disease. The warfarin arm of the EINSTEIN-PE trial (Oral Direct Factor Xa Inhibitor Rivaroxaban in Patients with Acute Symptomatic Pulmonary Embolism), which randomised patients with pulmonary embolism to warfarin or rivaroxaban, had a major bleeding rate of 2.2 %. The bleeding rate was lower in the rivaroxaban arm (1.1 %) and notably patients received a higher loading dose of rivaroxaban for the first 3 weeks (15 mg twice daily) compared with the daily 20 mg daily in ROCKET-AF.15

The recent uncertainties surrounding ROCKET-AF demonstrate the need for widespread data transparency for major trials with the capability of so greatly affecting patients’ lives. These are complicated issues both for the companies’ manufacturing products and the clinical trial organisations who carry out these studies and analyse the data. Ultimately the goal of full transparency to allow increased confidence in trial results should be sought. In this instance there is no compelling evidence of imminent danger of excessive bleeding with rivaroxaban. We should take notice of the recent findings, but there is no need to change practice.

What Are Xarelto Side Effects?

The most dangerous Xarelto side effect is uncontrollable bleeding. Blood thinning drugs have also been associated with bleeding complications. Other side effects include:

  • Blood clots
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Spinal bleeding
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Epidural bleeding
  • Cerebral bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty breathing

For Information on Xarelto and other mass torts see:

Michael Brady Lunch will speak on the Xarelto litigation as well as the status of Pradaxa litigation and related issues at the upcoming Mass Tort Nexus “CLE Immersion Course”

November 9 -12, 2018 at The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale , FL.

For class attendance information please contact Jenny Levine at 954.520.4494 or Jenny@masstortnexus.com.

  • For the most up to date information on all MDL dockets and related mass torts visit  masstortnexus.com and review our mass tort briefcases and professional site MDL briefcases.
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  • WWW.MASSTORTNEXUS.COM

REFERNCES CITED IN STUDIES SHOWN ABOVE

 Rivaroxaban and the ROCKET AF trial issue chronicles: A closer look at benefit risk profile of the drug. References:
BMJ 2016354 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5131 (Published 28 September 2016)Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i5131
  1. Patel MR, Mahaffey KW, Garg J, et al. Rivaroxaban versus warfarin in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:883-891. Article
    2. Top 50 pharmaceutical products by global sales. PMLiVE, Available here.
    3. FDA analyses conclude that Xarelto clinical trial results were not affected by faulty monitoring device.https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm524678.htm
    4. ROCKET AF Reanalysis Reviews.http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2011/202439Orig1s000Ro…
    5. Joint EFPIA-PhRMA Principles for Responsible Clinical Trial Data Sharing Become Effective.http://www.efpia.eu/mediaroom/132/43/Joint-EFPIA-PhRMA-Principles-for-Re…
    6. Cappato R, Ezekowitz MD, Klein AL, et al. Rivaroxaban vs vitamin K antagonists for cardioversion in atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J 2014; 35:3346-3355.

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Controversy Surrounding ROCKET-AF: A Call for Transparency, But Should We Be Changing Practice? References
Jason D Matos1 and Peter J Zimetbaum1,,2 Arrhythm Electrophysiol Rev. 2016 May; 5(1): 12–13.; doi:  [10.15420/aer.2016.24.2]
  1. Kubitza D, Becka M, Wensing G, et al. Safety, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics of BAY 59-7939 – an oral, direct Factor Xa inhibitor – after multiple dosing in healthy male subjects. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2005;61:873–80. PMID: 16328318. [PubMed]
  2. Cohen D. Rivaroxaban: can we trust the evidence? BMJ. 2016;352:i575. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i575; PMID: 26843102. [PubMed]
  3. Patel MR, Mahaffey KW, Garg J, et al. Rivaroxaban versus warfarin in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:883–91. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1009638; PMID: 21830957. [PubMed]
  4. Granger CB, Alexander JH, McMurray JJ, et al. Apixaban versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2011;365:981–92. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1107039; PMID: 21870978.[PubMed]
  5. Giugliano RP, Ruff CT, Braunwald E, et al. Edoxaban versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:2093–104. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1310907; PMID: 24251359. [PubMed]
  6. Patel MR, Hellkamp AS, Fox KA, et al. Point-of-care warfarin monitoring in the ROCKET AF Trial. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:785–8. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1515842; PMID: 26839968. [PubMed]
  7. Mandrola J. Rivaroxaban: It’s not time to cut the rope, yet. Medscape. 9 February 2016. Available at: www.medscape.com/viewarticle/858648. (accessed 6 May 2016.
  8. Cappato R, Ezekowitz MD, Klein AL, et al. Rivaroxaban vs. vitamin K antagonists for cardioversion in atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J. 2014;35:3346–55. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehu367; PMID: 25182247.[PubMed]
  9. Cappato R, Marchlinski FE, Hohnloser SH, et al. Uninterrupted rivaroxaban vs. uninterrupted vitamin K antagonists for catheter ablation in non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J. 2015;36:1805–11. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv177; PMID: 25975659. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  10. Camm AJ, Amarenco P, Haas S, et al. XANTUS: a real-world, prospective, observational study of patients treated with rivaroxaban for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Eur Heart J. 2016;37:1145–53.DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv466; PMID: 26330425. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  11. Connolly SJ, Ezekowitz MD, Yusuf S, et al. Dabigatran versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2009;361:1139–51. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905561; PMID: 19717844.[PubMed]
  12. Sherwood MW, Nessel CC, Hellkamp AS, et al. Gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with atrial fibrillation treated With rivaroxaban or warfarin: ROCKET AF trial. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;66:2271–81.DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2015.09.024; PMID: 26610874. [PubMed]
  13. Lopes RD, Al-Khatib SM, Wallentin L, et al. Efficacy and safety of apixaban compared with warfarin according to patient risk of stroke and of bleeding in atrial fibrillation: a secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2012;380:1749–58. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60986-6; PMID: 23036896. [PubMed]
  14. Eisen A, Giugliano RP, Ruff CT, et al. Edoxaban vs warfarin in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation in the US Food and Drug Administration approval population: An analysis from the Effective Anticoagulation with Factor Xa Next Generation in Atrial Fibrillation-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 48 (ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48) trial. Am Heart J. 2016;172:144–51. DOI: 10.1016/j.ahj.2015.11.004; PMID: 26856226. [PubMed]
  15. EINSTEIN-PE Investigators, Buller HR, Prins MH, et al. Oral rivaroxaban for the treatment of symptomatic pulmonary embolism. N Engl J Med. 2012;366:1287–97. DOI: 10.1056/ NEJMoa1113572. PMID: 22449293. [PubMed]

 

 

 

 

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