One week from now we expect the first status conference for the Pradaxa cases pending in a federal courtroom in the Southern District of Illinois. Lawyers on both sides of the defective product case, representing the manufacturer and the injured, will hear instructions from the Honorable David R. Herndon who will outline the organization of the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Judge Herndon will issue instructions and guidelines concerning the first bellwether trials which should begin to be heard by the spring of 2014, including cases representing clients of Searcy Denney.
So far there are more than 100 cases in the Pradaxa MDL and more are expected around the country. Multidistrict litigation will allow for consistent rulings and coordinated discovery that should move the cases to trial faster and with fewer contrary rulings. If the bellwether cases do not lead to a settlement, each case will be heard individually on its own merits.
Many of those suffering serious injury or loved ones of those who were killed by the anticoagulant drug will be taken into consideration by Judge Herndon, who understands the need to bring about a decision sooner rather than later considering the age of those most seriously injured.
The cases will argue that Pradaxa is a defective product that should never have been marketed and that its German maker, Boehringer Ingelheim, failed to warn doctors and patients of the risk of the drugs including the fact that there is no antidote to the anticoagulant.
That means if a patient suffers a blow to the head or trips and falls, there is a potential for a bleed out. If a patient experiences a gastrointestinal bleed, there may be no way to stop it.
Pradaxa was approved by the FDA in October of 2010 and within a year the agency had received more than 2,000 reports of complications including rectal and gastrointestinal bleeding accounted for more than 500 deaths last year.
Our complaints have stated that drugmaker Boehringer promised Pradaxa was more effective than competitor Coumadin at reducing strokes while it failed to reveal there is no agent to reverse the anticoagulation properties of Pradaxa. That did not stop the marketing blitz and within one year after approval Pradaxa achieved $1 billion in blockbuster sales. At the same time there were more than 900 reports of rectal and gastrointestinal bleeding that accounted for more than 500 deaths.
At the very least, Boehringer needed to include a warning to patients about the potential life- threatening situation but nowhere in the medication guide was it disclosed. Our cases will seek punitive damages for concealing that information, negligence, misrepresentation, and strict liability.
Despite the devastating side effects, Pradaxa remains on the market and there is nothing on the company’s website that warns patients about the potential to bleed to death.