Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Xarelto is a type of anticoagulant (blood thinner) medication that quickly grew in popularity following its release in 2011. For decades, warfarin had been the only reliable treatment for patients with blood-clotting disorders, such as atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis. Although effective, warfarin requires regular blood monitoring. Xarelto, on the other hand, does not. Unfortunately, in an effort to fulfill the skyrocketing prescription orders for this new, low-maintenance drug, adequate safety testing may have been “overlooked.”

All anticoagulants carry a risk of excessive bleeding and hemorrhaging, but warfarin has an antidote. If excessive bleeding occurs while undergoing treatment with warfarin, the physician can administer a dose of vitamin K and fresh blood plasma, and the bleeding will stop. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists for Xarelto users. A MA drug injury lawyer can help if you’ve suffered medical complications after taking Xarelto.

Manufactured by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, Xarelto has thousands of reported complications and adverse event reports with the FDA. Despite these risks, Xarelto sales continue to rise. It has even surpassed sales of other drugs in its class, including Eliquis and Pradaxa, both of which are also linked to excessive bleeding.

How Does Xarelto Work?

Xarelto and other drugs in its class work by blocking a blood protein called Factor Xa, which is responsible for initiating the blood’s clotting process. By blocking Xa, a clotting enzyme called thrombin is not produced, and clots do not form. It can take up to 24 hours for Xarelto to be eliminated from a person’s system. For older adults, it may take even longer and the anticoagulation effects may last longer.

Complications Linked to Xarelto

The use of Xarelto and similar drugs carries the risk of excessive bleeding, but this is not the only complication. Additional medical conditions associated with this drug include:

  • Tingling sensation in muscles
  • Itching
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Liver problems
  • Wound bleeding that does not stop
  • Congestion
  • Sinus irritation
  • Jaundice
  • Fainting
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Death

Xarelto News

  • As of November 2016, there were 13,700 reported lawsuits pending in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) against Xarelto manufacturers.
  • According to the American Medical Association, patients undergoing treatment with Xarelto have a higher rate of death than those using Pradaxa.
  • The Institute for Safe Medication Practices named Xarelto the nation’s most dangerous drug in 2016.
  • In 2015, more than 10,000 Xarelto-related complications were reported to the FDA.

Our Lawyers can help if you have been harmed by taking Xarelto or a similar drug, such as Pradaxa or Eliquis. If you are undergoing Xarelto treatment and are concerned about the risks, it may be wise to speak with your health care provider. If you develop any of the following symptoms while on Xarelto, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red or brown urine
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Black stool
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Coughing up blood clots
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling weak or fatigued
  • Severe headaches
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds or contains blood

Continue reading

More than 100,000 hernia mesh devices are implanted in patients annually in the United States. Despite growing evidence that these medical products come with a high risk of complications, several of the most dangerous types of hernia mesh products remain on the market today. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a hernia mesh implant.

The FDA is aware of the serious risk associated with hernia mesh implants, but incorrectly claims that most of the dangerous mesh products have been recalled. Here is an excerpt from a 2016 statement put out by the FDA: “Many complications related to hernia repair with surgical mesh that have been reported to the FDA have been associated with recalled mesh products that are no longer on the market. Pain, infection, recurrence, adhesion, obstruction, and perforation are the most common complications associated with recalled mesh. In the FDA’s analysis of medical adverse event reports to the FDA, recalled mesh products were the main cause of bowel perforation and obstruction complications.” However, only one month after the release of this statement, Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, recalled its Physiomesh hernia mesh product after mounting reports of serious injuries.

Why are Hernia Mesh Products So Dangerous?

When Deane Berg was 49 she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. While searching the internet for possible causes of this deadly cancer, she was surprised to see talcum powder on the list. Although Berg had no other risk factors, such as endometriosis, she had been using baby powder for feminine hygiene every day, for at least 30 years. “I knew nothing about this before,” said Berg. “I figured baby powder is for babies, it must be safe.”

Ms. Berg was the first in a long line of women who filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the manufacturing giant’s baby powder products caused their deadly disease. Johnson & Johnson stands behind its baby powder, saying the product is safe, despite thousands of lawsuits claiming the opposite. In fact, research dating back to 1971 links talc particles used in the genital area to ovarian cancer and cervical tumors. According to this research, and many studies that have been conducted since, talc particles have been found embedded in ovarian tumors. In response, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talcum powder as a human carcinogen when used for feminine hygiene.

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal two recent jury awards, both in the tens of millions of dollars. The company says that research linking talc to cancer is flawed. “We have children ourselves,” said Tara Glasgow, the head of research and development for J&J’s baby products franchise. “We would never sell a product we didn’t believe was safe.” A Boston injury lawyer can help if you think you were harmed by a talc-based product.

24% Greater Risk of Developing Ovarian Cancer Among Women Who Use Talcum Powder

In addition to evidence showing that talc particles can enter the vagina and migrate through the fallopian tubes and into the ovaries, talc is often mined near asbestos, a known – and very deadly – carcinogen. In the early 80s, Harvard professor Dr. Daniel W. Cramer led a study comparing 215 healthy women with 215 women who had ovarian cancer. The women who used talcum powder in the genital area regularly had more than three times the risk. Similar studies involving 20,000 women found that talcum powder use is linked to a 24 percent increase for ovarian cancer risk.

As cancers go, ovarian cancer is particularly aggressive, and deadly. In 2008, a nonprofit organization called Cancer Prevention Coalition petitioned the FDA for warning labels on talc-based products. The FDA denied the request. However, in the 2014 denial letter, the agency admitted that talc “may elicit a foreign-body-type reaction and inflammatory response that, in some exposed women, may progress to epithelial cancers.” A MA defective products attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you have developed cancer after using talcum powder.

In 2006, J&J’s talc supplier added a warning label to the talc…but J&J didn’t transfer the warning to its products containing that talc. “Talcum powder is an interesting case, because it’s not something that’s necessary,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “If there’s any doubt, why should anyone use it?” Continue reading

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered Caldera Medical to pay a total of $12.3 million to settle over 2,700 injury claims related to the company’s transvaginal mesh products. Tens of thousands of women have suffered injuries as a result of transvaginal mesh products from multiple manufacturers. Many of the women allege that manufacturers provided “false and misleading information” about the effectiveness and safety of the products. Complications range from severe pain to the need for multiple revision surgeries. If you have been harmed by a mesh implant, read on for more information about legal options that may be available to you.

Why Should Transvaginal Mesh Manufacturers Be Held Accountable?

Lawsuits against mesh manufacturers include several allegations, including that they:

  • Intentionally mislead physicians, patients, and the FDA as to the safety and effectiveness of their products.
  • Failed to perform adequate testing on the use of mesh products for treating disorders of the female pelvic floor.
  • Failed to determine safe methods of removal for when complications arise.
  • Failed to properly and adequately warn patients and physicians of associated risks.

Complications Associated with Transvaginal Mesh

Within weeks of surgery, mesh can begin eroding through vaginal walls. The result can be extremely painful, and injuries may be permanent. Possible complications include:

  • Severe pain
  • Erosion of the mesh
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • The need for revision surgeries

A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh. Due to the nature of the complications, injuries can be emotional as well as physical. A woman from Illinois is suing the manufacturer of her mesh product for nearly $10 million as a result of the complications she experienced. Jill L. Dewey had the medical product implanted in 2005 following her organ prolapse.

In addition to the above cases, thousands of federal lawsuits have been consolidated in multi district litigation (MDL), and thousands more are currently pending at the state level. The manufacturers facing the lion’s share of the lawsuits are Ethicon and American Medical Systems, but Boston Scientific, Coloplast, C.R. Bard, Neomedic, and Cook Medical are also facing their fair share of injury claims.

If you have received a transvaginal mesh implant and are concerned about the associated risks, speak to your healthcare provider. If you have been injured due to a mesh device, or a similar medical product, a MA injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

More Defective Medical Products

In addition to transvaginal mesh products, several other medical devices have caused serious harm to patients in recent years. The devices below have been at the center of tens of thousands of injury claims.

  • Metal hip replacements
  • Drug-coated stents
  • Guidant defibrillators
  • IVC blood clot filters
  • DaVinci surgical robots

Continue reading

As of December 2016, approximately 34 Eliquis lawsuits were pending against the drug’s manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, Inc. The plaintiffs claim they were harmed as a result of the manufacturers’ failure to warn of serious, potentially life-threatening risks linked to Eliquis and other drugs like it.

Eliquis belongs to a newer class of anticoagulants (blood thinners) that has been hailed as a lower-maintenance alternative to the long-standing warfarin. Along with Pradaxa and Xarelto, injury claims against Eliquis have been on the rise, and they’re not expected to slow down anytime soon. If you have been injured by Eliquis or another defective medication, it is in your best interest to consult with a Boston drug injury lawyer today.

Eliquis was approved by the FDA in 2012 for treatment of blood clots in patients with disorders such as atrial fibrillation. Demand for the new drug grew quickly; unlike its predecessor warfarin, Eliquis doesn’t require “inconvenient” blood monitoring. This benefit, however, was soon overshadowed by one very negative side effect. As with all anticoagulants, Eliquis reduces blood clotting and can increase the risk of excessive, uncontrollable bleeding. Warfarin has an antidote to stop the excessive bleeding – vitamin K. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists for patients on Eliquis, Pradaxa, and Xarelto. Basically, if a patient starts bleeding uncontrollably, there is no way to stop it.

Medical Complications Linked to Eliquis

If you develop unexplained bruising, feel faint or dizzy, or begin bleeding uncontrollably while on Eliquis, contact your physician immediately. The complications below can all be fatal if undetected, or when left untreated.

  • Brain hemorrhaging
  • Bleeding of the kidneys or intestines
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Death

Approval Based on a Flawed Study

The FDA’s approval of Eliquis was largely based on a study published in a 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The ARISTOTLE study concluded that Eliquis was more effective at preventing stroke and systemic bleeding than warfarin. It also stated that Eliquis caused less bleeding and, thus, was linked to a lower rate of mortality. However, the study was later found to be riddled with flaws. Side effects of Eliquis were concealed by agents of the defendants. In fact, one of those concealed side effects resulted in a patient’s death during the study. In addition, some study participants who were not being treated with Eliquis were said to be taking the drug. Research has shown that the study’s results were largely manipulated. But Eliquis remains on the market today.

Eliquis sales amounted to about $774 million in 2014, a hefty sum helped along by the $8 million paid to physicians in 2013 to encourage prescriptions of the drug. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine whether to file a claim if you’ve been harmed by Eliquis or a similar dangerous drug. Pharmaceutical companies make billions in profits. When their negligent actions result in injury or death, they should be held accountable for their actions. New evidence reveals that manufacturers of Eliquis, Pradaxa, and Xarelto likely knew about the associated risks but failed to warn physicians and the public. Continue reading

People suffering from depression and bipolar disorder may be prescribed Abilify, an antipsychotic drug meant to help reduce the negative symptoms of these emotional disorders. Unfortunately, the side effects of Abilify may be significantly worse than the symptoms it’s intended to treat. From hyper-sexuality to compulsive gambling, Abilify has been linked to multiple compulsive behaviors, many of which can ruin a person’s life.

One woman lost her home and custody of her children after developing a gambling habit while on Abilify. The mother of two claims she had never had a gambling problem before being prescribed the drug. Her compulsion to gamble while on Abilify was so strong that she missed multiple flights because she couldn’t pull herself away from the casino. “I had to reschedule the first flight I missed and then I went back to the machine waiting for the second flight and I ended up missing that as well,” said the woman, who estimates that she lost  up to $2 million due to her gambling habit, in less than five years. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine whether to file a lawsuit if you’ve experienced similar side effects while on Abilify.

Abilify affects the brain’s dopamine production to reduce negative symptoms of conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder, but it may create an overabundance of dopamine in some patients. Dopamine receptors crave pleasure, which is why Abilify may lead people to gambling, compulsive shopping, hyper-sexuality, and overeating. “I gained about 70 pounds and then lost it subsequently after stopping Abilify,” said the woman, who admits to becoming involved in prostitution as well. “Something I’m ashamed of and embarrassed by.” She claims that following a 2012 move to Colorado, her new doctor refused to prescribe Abilify, and the compulsive behaviors stopped. It was then that she made the connection between the prescription medication and her compulsivity.

FDA Warning Came Too Late For Some

In response to these claims, the FDA finally issued an announcement in May 2016 warning that, “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, and generics). These uncontrollable urges were reported to have stopped when the medicine was discontinued or the dose was reduced.”

Although the warning was issued, it was far too late for some. European patients learned about the link between Abilify and compulsive behaviors back in 2012, when Europe issued a public warning. American patients weren’t clued in for another four years. For patients like the woman above, Abilify may have ruined their lives. If you suffered harmful side effects while taking Abilify or any other prescription drug, contact a MA drug injury lawyer today.

According to the FDA, about 1.6 million Americans were prescribed Abilify in 2015. The drug is still on the shelves, but with the new warning, patients can now decide if they are willing to take the risk. If you are currently taking Abilify or any other form of the drug aripiprazole, you may want to speak with your doctor about the potential side effects. Continue reading

Surgeries for hernia repairs are extremely common in the United States. In fact, about 500,000 surgical repairs are performed annually. Unfortunately, the hernia mesh devices used in many repairs are linked to multiple serious injuries, including organ perforation and bowel obstruction. If you have been harmed due to a mesh implant, the information below will help you determine whether to seek the counsel of a Boston hernia mesh injury lawyer.

Hernia mesh works by covering or “plugging” the areas of weakened muscle in the abdomen. There are several different types of hernia mesh, including those made from synthetic materials and those made from biologic materials. Synthetic mesh is typically made of polypropylene, composite mesh, or polyester fibers whereas biologic mesh is derived from animal or even human tissue.

Complications Related to Hernia Mesh Products

In the past decade, hernia mesh products have faced increased scrutiny about the harm that they may cause to patients who are fitted with them. Hernia mesh products are intended to support weakened muscle to help a hernia heal, and prevent it from re-erupting. Studies have shown that hernia mesh products do indeed lessen the likelihood of reoccurrence of hernias.

However, studies have also started to reveal that hernia mesh products can cause serious, and in some cases life-threatening, complications to patients that are fitted with them. The most serious of which include nerve damage, fistulas (an abnormal connecting together of organs that are meant to remain separated), bowel blockages and negative autoimmune reactions when the body rejects the mesh.

Ethicon is a subsidiary company underneath the umbrella of pharmaceutical conglomerate Johnson & Johnson. The company has manufactured surgical sutures and wound closure devices since 1887. They are responsible for about 80 percent of the total United States market share of surgical sutures and are present in 52 countries worldwide.

According to a recently-released report by the news organization ProPublica, manufacturers of the anticoagulant (blood thinner) Xarelto made more physician payments than any other drug company in 2015. Physician payments were made for promotional speaking, travel, gifts, and meals. But not for research. Past studies have shown that when physicians receive payments from a drug manufacturer, they tend to prescribe more of that manufacturer’s drugs than those who do not. Considering the high risk of serious, potentially life-threatening side effects linked to Xarelto, this is certainly cause for concern.

Each year, ProPublica gathers information about payments made by pharmaceutical companies to physicians for promos, travel, royalties, etc. Across the board, pharmaceutical and medical device companies made approximately $2 billion in physician payments in 2014 and 2015, with Xarelto payments taking the cake in 2015. ProPublica’s study is not the only one to find that these payments result in higher prescriptions of related drugs. Researchers at Harvard Medical School had similar findings in 2016. In a study of medical industry payments to physicians in Massachusetts, they found that for every $1,000 a physician received, his or her rate of prescribing the associated drug increased by 0.1 percent. If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective pharmaceutical, contact a Boston drug injury lawyer today.

Xarelto Linked to Excessive Bleeding

There are currently more than 11,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending in the U.S. It goes without saying that plaintiffs in these cases will likely use the findings from the ProPublica report to support their claims that Xarelto’s manufacturers, Johnson and Johnson and AG Bayer, failed to warn physicians and patients about the risks associated with the drug. Marketed as a low-maintenance alternative to warfarin, Xarelto quickly rose in popularity. Due to high demand, Xarelto’s manufacturers may have rushed the product to market without adequate safety testing. Although all anticoagulants come with an increased risk of excessive bleeding (hemorrhaging), warfarin has an antidote to that bleeding, known as a reversal agent. To date, Xarelto has no such reversal agent. Excessive bleeding has resulted in thousands of injuries and some deaths. If you have been harmed by a defective prescription drug, contact a MA drug injury lawyer today.

Symptoms of Internal Bleeding

If you are currently undergoing Xarelto treatment, talk to your doctor about the risks of excessive bleeding. As internal bleeding may not be immediately apparent, it is important to look for possible signs. If the bleeding is rapid and severe, blood may collect under the skin, forming a bulge or discolored spot. Severe bleeding may result in shock or loss of consciousness. If you develop any of the symptoms below, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Dark urine
  • Dark stool
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Blood clots
  • Cough that produces blood
  • Blood in vomit
  • Unexplained pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Lawsuits allege that Xarelto manufacturers failed to warn physicians about the risk of uncontrollable bleeding, that the drug was defectively designed, and that warning labels were not updated in a timely manner. Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG are also under fire for not recalling Xarelto when the risks became apparent. Continue reading

Lawsuits claiming that talc-based products have caused ovarian cancer in women who use them have been on the rise in recent years. According to research, women who use talcum powder for personal hygiene have a significantly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who do not. Despite this risk, however, talcum powder products are still on the market. Even more disturbing is new evidence that manufacturers of talc-based products, such as Johnson & Johnson, may have known about the risk for decades.

The United States vs. Europe

In Europe, talc is banned from personal care products. In the United States, however, manufacturers are permitted to add minimal amounts of ingredients to personal care products with limited safety testing. In some cases, no safety testing is required at all. The difference between the US approach and that of the EU is night and day. Laws in the EU state that “chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects simply don’t belong in cosmetics.” To more clearly illustrate the difference, consider this: The EU has banned more than 1,300 potentially toxic chemicals from personal care products while the US has only banned 11. If you have been harmed by a dangerous product, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

In 2013, the journal Cancer Prevention Research published a study on the risk of talcum powder use. The Brigham and Women’s Hospital study reviewed data from nearly 2,000 women. Their results showed an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer of up to 30 percent for women who used talc-based products for personal hygiene. According to research, when used for personal hygiene, talc minerals can travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries. If the particles become lodged in the ovaries, they can irritate the tissue, resulting in inflammation which can, in turn, become tumorous.

Large Awards in Wrongful Death and Product Liability Lawsuits

After using Johnson & Johnson baby powder for 35 years, Jacqueline Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Last year, the pharmaceutical giant was ordered to pay $72 million for the wrongful death of the victim. Although Fox passed away a few months before the trial began, she expressed her desire to warn other women of the dangers of talcum powder. Another victim, Gloria Ristesund, was awarded $55 million last year for her talcum powder liability claim. Ristesund claimed that she used baby powder and Shower to Shower for more than three decades before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. If you have been injured by a defective product, contact a MA injury lawyer today.

Despite all of the above, the FDA claims there is insufficient evidence to support the link between talc and ovarian cancer. As such, the agency refuses to label talc-based products as carcinogens even though they agreed that talc has a similar behavior pattern as asbestos. Continue reading

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