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The makers of the blood-thinning drug Xarelto, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to settle the 25,000 consolidated cases against them for $775 million.
The massive mass tort settlement resolved the cases by creating a fund that the individual plaintiffs in each case can seek compensation from. Curiously, in six of the trials of individual cases, the drug makers actually won. However, facing mounting litigation costs for continuing to battle it out, the companies' statement explains that settling was an economic decision. Despite the big settlement figure, the path actually pans out.
What Are These Cases About?
The Xarelto cases involve claims that the drug maker failed to warn those patients prescribed the drug of several, potentially fatal, side effects. Complicating matters is the fact that prescribed patients cannot simply stop taking the drug without risk.
For several years when the drug was first sold, those risks were not disclosed, which basically meant anyone taking the drug prior to the disclosure in 2015 potentially had/has a claim. The value of that claim however is likely to vary based on whether there has been an impact to the person's life as a result of the failure to disclose.
Big Numbers, But Not Big Enough?
While that $775 million figure might sound impressive, even assuming no attorney fees or costs come out of that number, which is unlikely, each of the 25,000 cases would have $31,000 each (hypothetically if everyone got the same amount, which isn't likely to be the case as many suffered more injury than others).
As Forbes explains, the drug makers are basically getting off easy here. Given the sheer number of cases that $775 million settles out, it's clear the drug makers have gotten the benefit of the bargain in this settlement.