We all hope that pharmaceutical drug companies have our best interest at heart. We put our trust in them and trust that they are looking out for our health and our wellbeing. Though the unfortunate truth is that sometimes profits are put before patients and drugs that aren’t properly tested make it onto the market, often to disastrous results. One such unsafe drug that appeared recently was a blood thinner produced by Bayer called Xarelto.

When Xarelto appeared on the market it was fast selling, making $567 million in the first quarter alone. In 2015, the drug earned $2 billion worth of revenue. With earnings like that, it’s easy to see why Bayer was so keen to get this drug into pharmacies across the nation. However, the drug had deadly side effects, the worst of which was uncontrollable bleeding.

As one might imagine, this led to more than 4,500 lawsuits being filed against Xarelto’s makers for grievances ranging from financial hardships caused by hospital bills and extended medical care to funeral costs and wrongful deaths.

It can be challenging for a single person to stand up to a major pharmaceutical company such as this, which is why it’s useful to utilize Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)—when a number of cases are brought before a single judge who has a specialized knowledge relevant to the cases. This is exactly the route being taken by those looking to bring litigation against the makers of Xarelto. The cases will be brought before Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The first trials of a MDL are referred to as the “Bellweather Trials.” The Bellweather trials are cases specifically chosen to set the tone for all subsequent cases. They help the plaintiff and defense counsel gauge how juries will respond to such cases, and give them a good idea of how similar cases are likely to play out. They can help set precedents and allow a large number of cases pass through the system quickly, yet justly.

The dates for the first four Bellweather trials in the Xarelto litigation have already been set for early 2017. The dates are:

February 6, 2017
March 13, 2017
April 24, 2017
May 30, 2017

Standing up to a large corporation such as a major pharmaceutical company alone can be a challenge. But having someone on your side, whether it’s an experienced, knowledgeable attorney, or thousands of other people who are in your situation and understand what you’re going through, can give you the power to take a stand. Don’t go it alone. Seek help from an attorney to find out what you can do to make sure that your rights are protected.