US jury fines Xarelto makers $27.8 million for downplaying drug risks

Drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Bayer have lost a court case in Philadelphia connected to their blood thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and have been ordered to pay $1.8 million (¬£1.3 million) in compensatory and $26 million in punitive damages.

Plaintiff Lynn Hartman was prescribed Xarelto because of her irregular heartbeat. She had been taking the drug for more than a year before being hospitalised in 2014 with gastrointestinal bleeding, which she blames on the drug.

Bayer and J&J developed blockbuster Xarelto together. The jury found them guilty of failing to disclose internal bleeding risks associated with the drug. However, the companies have countered that the risk of bleeding has always been part of the drugs label warnings.

Bayer and J&J had previously won three similar cases in federal court. They face thousands more: including 1,400 in Philadelphia and 18,500 in federal court.