People who suffer from chronic rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions such as ulcerative colitis are often desperate to find relief. A class of medications called immune system inhibitors may be able to decrease the swelling that causes pain in the joints or digestive system.
One medication that doctors may prescribe for these conditions is Xeljanz. Since 2012, Pfizer—the makers of Xeljanz—have sold their product with FDA approval. However, in 2019, a Food and Drug Administration black box warning now discourages patients and doctors from taking this drug due to an increased risk of blood clots and death.
It is possible that Pfizer knew of these potentially deadly side effects and did not disclose the risk during FDA testing, placing thousands of people at risk of potentially deadly harm. If you experienced harm because of this negligence, it may be worthwhile to contact a dangerous drugs attorney about your options. A Xeljanz lawyer may be able to help you if you have suffered injuries after using this drug.
Drug manufacturers must submit every drug they intend to place on the market to the FDA for testing. During and following this testing phase, the maker is required to disclose all potential side effects and risks that may come along with consuming that drug.
However, despite approving the drug in 2012, the FDA now recommends that all health care providers immediately discontinue Xeljanz and all other tofacitinib medications. Patients have experienced symptoms that indicate blood clots such as shortness of breath, chest pain that worsens with breathing, swelling in the arms or legs, or leg pain may be traceable to taking the drug. An attorney could help to make the connection between Xeljanz and blood clotting in a particular plaintiff’s case.
If Pfizer violated their duty of care to provide proper instructions, adequate testing, and disclosure of all potential side effects, a plaintiff may be able to build a strong case against Xeljanz with the help of an experienced injury lawyer. For many plaintiffs, however, their story also shares key similarities with those of other people.
In these cases, it may be possible for plaintiffs to join into a mass tort, a legal construction that lets plaintiffs share essential evidence, expert reports, and the results of depositions. While the plaintiffs must still pursue their claims in court on an individual basis and claim individual damages, working within the limits of a mass tort can be beneficial in combating large defendants such as pharmaceutical companies.
To qualify as a mass tort, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 requires plaintiffs to demonstrate that they share a common defendant with substantially similar case facts. They must also find the traditional joinder of claims to be impractical.
Pharmaceutical companies have a legal duty to ensure that their products function as intended and to disclose any known side effects. Pfizer may have failed in this obligation, as we now know that taking Xeljanz in any amount increases the chance of developing potentially deadly blood clots.
Pfizer’s negligence to inform consumers of these problems could be grounds for a legal claim that a qualified attorney may be able to help you pursue. Contact a Xeljanz lawyer today to see how they might be able to help you.