Xeljanz Lawsuits Against Pfizer | Blood Clots and Pulmonary Embolism
For a time, Xeljanz was one of the most heavily advertised medications on television. You could hardly turn on your television without the drugmaker selling the benefits of the drug. You would see upbeat and optimistic images of patients basking in the sunlight and enjoying their day before an announcer quickly ran through unpleasant possible side effects at the end of the commercial. Some of these side effects of Xeljanz can be fatal, possibly entitling you and your family to financial compensation. Even today, Xeljanz advertisements blanket the airwaves. In December 2020, Xeljanz was among the top-ten biggest spenders on television, devoting almost $28 million to trying to convince you that this is the right drug for you.
Update- 2-4-21- “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public about an increased risk of serious heart-related problems and cancer with the arthritis and ulcerative colitis medicine Xeljanz, Xeljanz XR (tofacitinib) compared to another type of medicine called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. The FDA required the safety trial, which also investigated other potential risks, including blood clots in the lungs and death. Those final results are not yet available.” Click Orlando
There Are Very Real Dangers Associated with the Use of Xeljanz
No matter how much is spent on Xeljanz ads, it does not obscure the obvious truth that there are very real dangers attached to this drug. Of course, these television ads tell you the common side effects of the drug. However, there are serious dangers that you may not fully pick up from the advertisements or may gloss over as the announcer gets to the small print.
What Is Xeljanz?
Xeljanz is the brand name for the drug Tofacitinib. It is used to treat:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
Xeljanz Works as An Inhibitor
Xeljanz acts as an inhibitor. It tries to block certain enzymes that cause inflammation in the body. Specifically, Xeljanz decreases the substance called cytokines. These are proteins in the body that usually fight infections. However, when your body produces too many cytokines, it can also lead to pain and inflammation. Lowering the amount of inflammation in the body helps control the symptoms of these types of arthritis and colitis. The recommended dosage of the drug depends on the condition that it is treating. Patients usually take 10 mg daily for arthritis and 20 mg daily for colitis. Patients can either take their dose of Xeljanz twice daily, or they can take Xeljanz XR, which was approved by the FDA in 2016.
Xeljanz Is a Blockbuster Drug for Pfizer
Xeljanz is made by Pfizer. It was approved by the FDA for usage in 2012. There is a reason why the pharmaceutical giant spends so much money making sure that you know all about Xeljanz. The company makes a ton of money on the drug. In 2018, Pfizer realized roughly $1.8 billion in sales. In 2020, this amount grew to $2.4 billion. Pfizer currently has patent protection for the drug until 2025. For Pfizer, the good financial news keeps rolling in. Recently, the FDA approved Xeljanz for use in children and adolescents to treat active polyarticular course juvenile idiopathic arthritis. There is another good reason why Pfizer is always trying to sell you Xeljanz when you are watching your favorite football team or television show. The drug costs between $5,000-10,000 for a 60-tablet supply.
The FDA Has Revealed News of Serious Xeljanz Side Effects
However, the great news for Pfizer’s shareholders and its bottom line is bad news for the health of patients who have been prescribed this drug. FDA approval of Xeljanz back in 2012 did not come free of conditions. Due to possible dangers, Pfizer was required to conduct safety trials of the drug. As the result of this study, some of the severe hazards of this drug are coming into public view.
An Increased Risk of Blood Clots
In 2019, the FDA issued a Safety Communication warning the public about potential risks associated with Xeljanz. In July 2019, the FDA required a black box warning altering patients to the higher risk of blood clots and death. This is the FDA’s most severe level of warning for a possible medication side effect. This came after Pfizer identified the complication itself in a post-marketing study. As a result, doctors must be careful about prescribing Xeljanz to any patients who have a higher than normal risk of blood clots.
Now, an Increased Risk of Cancer and Heart Attacks
This is far from the only problem with Xeljanz. Since the drug acts on patients’ immune systems, it also lowers their resistance to other diseases. There is also a fear that patients on the drug are at an increased risk of cancer, including lymphoma.
This was not the last piece of bad news about Xeljanz. In January 2021, the FDA released even more alarming data about the drug. Now, patients taking Xeljanz need to also worry about an increased risk of heart attack. As part of its original FDA approval, Pfizer was also required to conduct aftermarket research about the risk of heart attacks and cancer.
While the FDA did not release the final results of this study, it did indicate that there was an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular events. Other outlets reported some results from this study, and the results show that patients taking Xeljanz had more than twice as many heart attacks as patients taking another type of inhibitor. In addition, patients on Xeljanz developed cancer at three times the rate of the other type of inhibitor. With all of these safety concerns and increased competition in the rheumatoid arthritis space, it is a wonder how Xeljanz continues to sell over $2 billion of product every year, and it is a possible explanation for all of the advertising that you see.
We Are Investigating Xeljanz and Can Help You File a Lawsuit
Now, Pfizer faces the prospect of a flood of lawsuits related to Xeljanz. As more bad news comes out about the drug, the number of court cases has been increasing. As of now, these cases are all proceeding on their own. However, as the number of cases grow, they could be consolidated into multi-district litigation, where the cases proceed together for purposes of discovery.
Right now, the cases filed against Pfizer have been alleging the following:
- Pfizer knew of the dangers of the drug but did not warn patients, instead only issuing a strong warning after the FDA required it. The drug’s warning label did not accurately reflect the many risks that patients faced from the drug.
- The drug was defectively designed as it increased the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and cancer.
The lawsuits claim that Pfizer knew or should have known of the dangers, but continued to sell the product anyway. Not only has Pfizer kept the drug on the market, but they have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into advertising it given its profitability.
Pfizer’s alleged misconduct with respect to Xeljanz does not end there. According to news reports, Pfizers has funded studies of Xeljanz to show that it is the most effective drug but was selective in the drugs to which it compared its own product. The rheumatoid arthritis drug market is worth at least $45 billion, and Pfizer wants its share. Pfizer spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year in direct drug marketing payments to doctors.
The Number of Lawsuits Against Pfizer Will Grow
Currently, lawyers are investigating additional possible cases against Pfizer. With the recent news about the increased risk of heart attack and cancer, we expect that the number of lawsuits against Pfizer will greatly increase. However, you must act before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations does not begin to run from the time that the research study was published. Instead, it starts from the time of your diagnosis or injury. This is why you need to act fast.
A Xeljanz lawsuit attorney could help you as you attempt to recover the following damages for your injury:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Wrongful death damages
- Costs of funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium
Damages in pharmaceutical product liability cases can be considerable. This is why we recommend consulting with an attorney if you think that you or a loved one may have a case against Pfizer.