Xarelto, a best-selling anticoagulant made by German drug maker Bayer, is being investigated by the European drug safety agency, Handelsblatt has learned. Xarelto is the second German anticoagulant to come under the scrutiny of European regulators this week.
Medicine to prevent strokes is a lucrative part of the pharmaceutical industry for Bayer, German rival Boehringer Ingelheim and U.S. leader Pfizer, especially since 2011.
The number of prescriptions for the blood thinners has been skyrocketing. Part of the appeal of the new class of medicine is that patients supposedly do not have to submit to regular, costly blood tests to monitor levels of the drug in the body.
Bayer, the maker of Xarelto, and Boehringer Ingelheim, maker of Pradaxa, each generate more than €1 billion ($1.09 billion) annually with their pills.
But both companies’ products are attracting scrutiny.
“We need a new leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies and work to substantially lower drug prices,” said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democrat running for president.