German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has agreed to pay $650 million to settle thousands of consumer lawsuits involving its blood thinner medication Pradaxa.
The company issued a statement Wednesday to publicize its agreement, which will most likely settle the majority of the 4,000 cases brought against the company by patients who’d used the drug and their families. The victims have alleged that Boehringer Ingelheim failed to adequately warn them that using the drug, which is prescribed to prevent blood clots, could cause serious and sometimes fatal bleeding that is not easily reversible. Additionally, many patients’ attorneys are claiming that the company misled patients and their doctors about Pradaxa’s risks and about its advantages over warfarin, an older treatment for blood clots. According to the New York Times, the first case is set to go to trial this coming September.
In a company statement, Boehringer stated that is stood behind Pradaxa and the drug’s effectiveness, saying that it “continued to believe that the lawsuits lacked merit.” The company agreed to the settlement so that it could move on from the incident.
“Time and again, the benefits and safety of Pradaxa have been confirmed,” said Desiree Ralls-Morrison, senior vice president and general counsel of Boehringer Ingelheim USA.
Pradaxa was approved in 2010 and was one of the first drugs in a new group of blood thinners intended to replace the warfarin treatment, which had required patients to submit to frequent blood tests and maintain a strict diet. One of Pradaxa’s main selling points, according to the NY Times, was its convenience because it did not require any tests or dietary restrictions. So far the drug has been prescribed to about 850,000 patients across the United States, and has been linked to more than 1,000 deaths, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the NY Times. Despite the risks, the company as well as the FDA agree that the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential adverse side effects.
Problems arose soon after Pradaxa arrived on the drug market however, and emergency department doctors and trauma surgeons started becoming alarmed because of an influx of patients using drug were arriving with life-threatening bleeding that did not always respond to standard treatments. Currently there is no antidote to stop bleeding of Pradaxa patients, although Boehringer is still in the midst of developing one.
Despite having to subject to a rigorous approval process required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we are still plagued by dangerous medications and drugs. In some cases, drug companies will go so far as to conceal dangers to speed up government approval and aggressively lobby for reform in the FDA’s procedures. Although drug companies are legally required to test products before even seeking FDA approval, sometimes that testing is done hastily and improperly. Drug companies are also obligated to warn about possible side effects, disclose all material information and discourage misuse on labels.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, LLP, our firm handles various types of dangerous drug and injury claims brought against large pharmaceutical companies. Often times, it is not until years after a drug is introduced on the market that its devastating side-effects are felt by consumers. Our nation-wide defective drug practice aims to assist those individuals and families that have been adversely affected by such dangerous medications.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has become ill because of a defective medication or drug, you may be entitled to compensation. These types of cases are particularly complex and it is in your best interest to contact an attorney who has the knowledge and experience to help settle such cases. At Altman & Altman, our team of seasoned Massachusetts Products Liability Attorneys has helped victims and families across the Commonwealth recover millions of dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts. We pride ourselves on delivering legal representation of the highest quality as well as being available around the clock to assist any and all of our clients’ needs.
With offices conveniently located in both Cambridge and downtown Boston, our attorneys have the ability to speak with clients face-to-face about their products liability case. In addition, we can and will arrange to travel to your home, office or other location to meet with you to discuss your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and all initial consultations are confidential and completely free of charge.
Original article from NY Times.