With nearly irrefutable evidence linking blood-thinner Pradaxa to fatal gastrointestinal bleeding, manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim has agreed to pay plaintiffs a total of $650 million in settlements.
The first of the U.S. trials are set to be heard in September, though 2,500 cases have already been consolidated and an additional 1,500 are pending in state courts.
As the largest family-owned drugmaker in the world, Boehringer Ingelheim faces over 4,000 cases of product liability and wrongful death amid allegations that the company knew there was no known antidote to hemorrhaging events arising from Pradaxa’s use. Many patients prescribed Pradaxa for stroke prevention died as a result of this unstoppable bleeding.
According to a Bloomberg report, researchers argue that Pradaxa may be more effective at preventing strokes than Coumadin, a competitor drug that has been on the market for nearly 60 years. Legal counsel for the plaintiffs contend that Boehringer marketed Pradaxa as a better option than warfarin drugs like Coumadin while it was aware of the elevated risk of irreversible bleeding events.
Boehringer may have been reticent to fight these cases due to the fact that the link between Pradaxa and GI hemorrhaging has become pretty clear, noted University of Virginia, Richmond product liability law professor Carl Tobias in an interview.
The lawsuits further claim Boehringer, the largest family-owned drug manufacturer in existence, knew of potentially fatal bleeding events as early as October 2010, when Pradaxa first hit the market.
The 2,500 consolidated lawsuits will be heard in East St. Louis, IL before U.S. District Judge David Herndon, while the remaining 1,500 are ongoing in Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware and California courts.
Pradaxa has generated more than $1 billion in sales for German-based Boehringer Ingelheim. The manufacturers settlement amount averages to a payout of approximately $162,500 per case.
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