A $650 million settlement was announced by German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim to settle literally thousands of state and federal lawsuits in the U.S. over the company’s Pradaxa blood-thinning medication.
The first of approximately 4,000 cases scheduled for September will now be avoided altogether, The New York Times reported
, and the average settlement will average $162,500 per case.
The cases focused on injuries and deaths allegedly caused by hard-to-reverse bleeding that would sometimes result from taking Pradaxa, but the company said in a press release
it stood by the product.
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"This settlement does not change the facts about Pradaxa or its importance to patients. From the time Pradaxa launched, BI properly advised doctors and patients about its benefits and safety, working closely with FDA, European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other regulators to ensure doctors and patients had the information they needed," said senior vice president and general counsel Desiree Ralls-Morrison.
Pensacola lawyer Ned McWilliams, who represented some plaintiffs, said he and his clients were pleased with the settlement.
“We believed from the very beginning that the company had no defense to the claims in this case,” he said. “The fact that Boehringer Ingelheim has agreed to compensate thousands of victims hundreds of millions of dollars prior to expert disclosure or trial is telling in this regard.”
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices estimates that Pradaxa has been prescribed to 850,000 patients in the U.S., grossing $2 billion, and is linked to over 1,000 deaths.
Boehringer Ingelheim stands by the drug, while saying it is currently the best available drug for what it does. “Pradaxa is the only oral anticoagulant shown to be superior to warfarin in reducing ischemic strokes, with a similar rate of major bleeding events,” it wrote. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is roughly in agreement, finding that the drug’s benefits sufficiently outweigh the potential risks.
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