A stern warning for all patients prescribed the blood-thinning drug Rivaroxaban; sold under the name of Xarelto, that’s available on the NHS:
Xarelto is a type of blood-thinning medication prescribed as an alternative to medication like warfarin, and has been marketed as an effective medication to reduce life-threatening blood clots.
However, investigations have found potentially lethal side-effects like internal bleeding, including bleeds on the brain; all of which are very serious and life-threatening.
Concerns of its safety
Earlier this year, family doctor Des Spence voiced concerns and warned users about the risks of using the medication, saying:
“This new and heavily promoted drug is being rapidly and widely used when there are still unforeseen and serious side effects. GPs should be warned about it.”
And this warning carries a serious amount of weight.
As many as 1.5 million prescriptions of the medication were given to NHS patients last year; which is a lot of people to be at risk of serious internal bleeding.
New figures from the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) indicated there had been 76 deaths thought to be directly linked to the medication here in the U.K.
A spokesman for Bayer said that all treatments that require Xarelto will include an element of risk, but he went on to say that: “patient safety is always the highest priority”, and confirmed that they’ve undertaken study after study in more than 91,000 patients to keep a positive benefit-risk profile.
But with patients at risk of internal bleeding and death, the benefits don’t appear to be outweighing the risks…
U.S. class-action lawsuit
More than 14,000 plaintiffs, which include users and their relatives, have launched a class-action legal suit against Bayer in the U.S.
As is common in large medical product cases like this, Bayer is not accepting any liability.
It’s notably Bayer’s best-selling medicine, which generates around £18 billion in revenue a year for the manufacturers. If Bayer admits to the direct link between the drug and the deaths, I would imagine there would be a steep drop in sales, and a costly litigation against them. On top of that, admitting that their drug is a cause of death would bring the pharmaceutical manufacturing company into mass disrepute.
Mr McWilliams, a U.S. lawyer currently representing over 1,000 plaintiffs in their claims, has highlighted the fact that Bayer could have taken extra precautions. He notes that clinical measures aren’t enough, and says that the drug should be rigorously tested alongside the patient’s blood values. Again, the pharmaceutical company rejects these claims and insists that the drugs had been tested in compliance with all the necessary consumer safety standards.
Bayer’s reported lack of pre-emptive measures
However, four years on from Xarelto’s approval, there has yet to be any remedy from the pharmaceutical company.
Bayer has yet to offer any anti-haemorrhaging medication to counter the effects of the supposed deadly drug. Mr McWilliams expresses his disappointment through an analogy, saying: “it’s like putting a car on the market without any brakes”.
This is certainly a very valid point.
Has the manufacturer just let the drug loose on the market without thorough testing?
There are known risk with all blood-thinning drugs, but the risks associated with Xarelto appear to me much more dangerous, and do not appear to have an antidote or reversal agent.
There’s likely to be more and more claims against the pharmaceutical company off the back of the U.S. lawsuit – if it’s found that the company has released a dangerous drug which has misled the consumer about its safety, claims will rightly be made.
Our team of specialist Medical Negligence, Product, and Group Action Lawyers are investigating the issues for UK patients. We’ve recovered millions of pounds in compensation for claims over the years we have been fighting for the rights of victims, which includes helping people in big cases like PIP Breast Implant scandal and the Metal-On-Metal Hip Implant claims.
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IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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