Johnson & Johnson told investors that it expects to rake in between $81 billion and $81.8 billion in profits for 2018, more than previously forecasted, and $20 billion in first-quarter sales – up 12.6 percent year-over-year, thanks in large part to its pharmaceutical unit. But one drug that fell under the company’s expectations was its blood thinner Xarelto.
Xarelto posted a sales increase of 13 percent to $578 million, but missed the company’s estimate of $634 million. Johnson & Johnson blamed supply issues caused by Hurricane Maria and changes in access agreements with insurers. Despite these challenges, Xarelto gained 1.6 points of market share overall.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson is dealing with a tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging that it didn’t adequately warn that Xarelto could cause serious and life-threatening bleeding, including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain bleeds. Complaints also say that this risk was increased in patients who were already taking anticoagulants.
About 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits are pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Another 1,700 are pending in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. One bellwether trial resulted in a $28 million verdict for the plaintiff. It was later overturned.
Xarelto was approved in 2011 and is currently cleared for six indications including the prevention of strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, the prevention and treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and the prevention of blood clots in patients who have recently undergone hip or knee replacement surgery.
Xarelto is made and distributed by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer.
Source: Fierce Pharma