The drug Pradaxa was the first in a new class of anticoagulant drugs called thrombin inhibitors. Pradaxa was an immediate hit with atrial fibrillation patients as an alternative to the high-maintenance Warfarin. The industry standard of anticoagulant treatments up until recently, warfarin requires constant blood monitoring to check for hemorrhaging. However, this new class of thrombin inhibitors claimed to have less side-effects and no need for blood monitoring. This claim was met with great enthusiasm by patients and physicians alike, to the tune of $1 billion in annual sales. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, some major details got overlooked. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.
Pradaxa Manufacturer Settles $650 Million Lawsuit
All anticoagulants come with a risk of increased bleeding. It’s what can be done once the hemorrhaging begins that determines the safety of the drug. With Warfarin, despite the inconvenience of constant blood monitoring and the very increased risk of hemorrhaging, there is an approved reversal agent (antidote) if hemorrhaging does occur. Physicians can administer a dose of vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma to quickly halt the bleeding. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists with Pradaxa or any thrombin inhibitor currently on the market. Boehringer Ingelheim’s failure to warn of this very important detail is at the core of many of the 4,000 lawsuits recently settled by the manufacturer for a total of $650 million. The settlement comes out to more than $150,000 per person. Continue reading