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The Pradaxa injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are leading prosecutors on behalf of those who were injured due to false claims made by Boehringer Ingelheim and the failure of the drug manufacturer to properly warn the public regarding risks associated with the medication. This blood thinner was presented as an alternative to Warfarin and was marketed as having fewer and less severe side effects. While this medication has brought in $10 billion a year in the United States, thousands of victims have paid a dire price for the dubious claims that were made in an effort to sell more medication.
The History of Pradaxa
Warfarin was one of the most successful and popular anticoagulant medications on the market for over fifty years. It was commonly prescribed to patients who were at an elevated risk of stroke or other conditions that could result from the formation and migration of blood clots to major organs such as the heart, lungs or brain. In an effort to provide alternatives to the medication, multiple anticoagulant medications were pushed onto the market in the last decade to compete with this established medication.
Pradaxa offered doctors and patients an alternative which would limit the risk of stroke while resulting in fewer side effects. In addition to claims that the medication was safer, the drug’s marketers also stated that patients would need to undergo less blood monitoring, which is one of the chief setbacks for patients prescribed with Warfarin. It did not take long for these claims to be disputed, however, as Pradaxa was linked to over 500 deaths in the first two years of its run on the market.
In addition to being prescribed for the treatment and prevention of stroke, Pradaxa was also offered as an alternative for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, which is a condition that occurs when the atriums of the heart do not beat in an efficient or effective manner. Other uses still for the medication is the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, which is the formation of blood clots in the veins of the legs and the prevention of pulmonary embolisms.
By 2014, over 4,000 lawsuits had been filed and Boehringer Ingelheim was forced to settle the majority of them by offering over $650 million to the plaintiffs. Despite agreeing to the settlement, the manufacturer asserted that the medication is safe and continues to market it as an alternative to those who are prescribed Warfarin.
Pradaxa Linked to Serious Side Effects
The most common complaints that victims have regarding Pradaxa is that the risk of serious side effects was never disclosed. In fact, doctors and patients were promised that the medication was far safer than Warfarin and required less frequent visits to the doctor to make sure that the patients were not at risk of serious bleeding. Here are some of the side effects victims reported.
- Unexplained bruising— a bruise occurs when there is bleeding underneath the skin due to ruptured blood vessels and patients taking Pradaxa have reported bruising despite never injuring themselves.
- Fatigue and dizziness— these are common symptoms of internal bleeding and patients taking Pradaxa have become faint suddenly due to uncontrolled bleeding inside of their bodies. If you or a loved one taking any anticoagulant suffers from faintness or dizziness, get medical treatment right away.
- Coughing up blood— this can be a sign of bleeding, a pulmonary embolism or digestive distress. When it is accompanied by the throwing up of vomit that looks like coffee grounds, it is a symptom of severe hemorrhaging.
- Discolored urine— dark colored urine can be a sign of bleeding, especially if the urine is pink, red or brown. This can be a sign that blood has passed through the digestive system or kidneys before being expelled through the urine.
- Heart failure— if the blood vessels serving the heart rupture, it can lead to congestive heart failure or a heart attack.
- Stroke— while Pradaxa is meant to prevent stroke, it can actually be the cause of ischemic hemorrhaging in the brain. When the bleeding is beyond the ability of doctors to control, it can result in permanent brain damage.
While there is an antidote available for Warfarin, no approved antidote exists for Pradaxa or other anticoagulants on the market that claim to be safe alternatives. This is another heavily cited reason for legal action against the drug’s manufacturers. Many patients would never have taken the medication if they had known there was no antidote available for them in the event they suffered from uncontrolled internal bleeding.
While over 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits have been settled, there are still thousands of victims coming forward with claims that they suffered serious side effects or lost loved ones due to complications with the medication. The drug’s manufacturers are currently working on an antidote and the FDA has stated that the risk of bleeding is not higher than that of Warfarin. Still, many victims believe that the company made irresponsible claims and marketed it as a safer version of Warfarin.
Contact us today to learn more about your rights and how one of our award winning Pradaxa attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries. The Drug Law Center has helped thousands of clients just like you, and we guarantee results. If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf for any reason at all, you will owe us nothing for our time.
The makers of Pradaxa continue to assert that their medication is perfectly safe despite offering a $650 million settlement to over 4,000 families who lost loved ones or victims who suffered serious complications that left them injured or debilitated for the rest of their lives. The Pradaxa injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are currently investigating additional claims as more victims come forward with claims. Since the medication continues to be marketed irresponsibly without a working antidote, it is still possible for patients to experience uncontrolled bleeding without the possibility for doctors to stop the bleeds before permanent damage occurs.
Hundreds of Patients Die Due to Side Effects
Like Xarelto, Pradaxa was presented as a safer and more effective alternative to Warfarin without any evidence to substantiate these claims. The side effects linked to the medication actually make it more dangerous than Warfarin and the lack of an antidote makes it impossible for doctors to remove it quickly from a patient’s system in the event of bleeding in the brain, heart or digestive tract. Bleeding in the rectum, intestines and brain were the most commonly reported serious side effects, but damage to other critical organs has been reported as well.
Pradaxa received approval from the FDA in 2010, but over 540 deaths linked to the medication were reported by the end of 2011. This resulted in a massive mass tort action against the makers of Pradaxa and a subsequent settlement offer of over $650 million. This was meant to resolve the MDL that had formed in hopes that it would shield the drug maker from future liability.
Wrongdoing Denied Despite Settlement
Since the maker of Pradaxa contests that the medication is harmful and continues to market it under the same claims, it is possible for many more victims to suffer harm due to the irresponsible marketing ploy behind the medication. The prime complaint is that doctors and the public have not been adequately warned of the serious risks associated with the medicine and have actually been told that regular blood monitoring is not necessary to ensure that the patients are safe.
Boehringer Ingelheim claimed that it would have won the lawsuits if they made it to trial, but chose to benevolently offer the settlement in order to avoid the hassle and distraction of needing to participate in legal proceedings over the future. Since it continues to market the medication without a working antidote, however, new plaintiffs who have suffered injuries may continue to come forward with claims.
Successful Lawsuits and Judgements
Berth Bivens is one of the many plaintiffs who filed a successful claim against the makers of Pradaxa after her mother died due to an uncontrolled bleed. Her attorney argued successfully that the drug maker used aggressive marketing tactics that disregarded the safety and wellbeing of the patients being served and that the statements made about the drug’s safety and efficacy were blatantly false.
Helen and John Hawkins filed a similar lawsuit at the same time. Helen managed to survive a life threatening bleed, but attributes the tragic experience to being prescribed Pradaxa for her atrial fibrillation. Less than a month later, she was admitted to the hospital with severe bleeding in her intestines. Since there was no antidote available, she was kept alive with blood transfusions until the bleeding finally came under control.
Another lawsuit involved the story of Walter Daumler, who witnessed his sister bleed to death because doctors’ efforts to stop her internal hemorrhaging were futile. After being informed that there was nothing that could be done due to a lack of antidote, Walter made it his mission to ensure the medication was removed from the market, calling it “insidious.”
The FDA has not issued any special warnings for the medication other than a statement that the risk of bleeding is similar to that of Warfarin. The key difference, however, is that patients on Warfarin undergo regular blood monitoring and an antidote is available to neutralize the medication in the event of a bleed. Since Pradaxa is being marketed as safer despite the lack of antidote, victims still have a legitimate claim of negligence when they are injured.
Let Us Take Up Your Fight
The Pradaxa injury attorneys at the Drug Law Center are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that you and your family receive every bit of compensation you deserve for your injuries or the death of a loved one. If you suffered injuries or watched a loved one pass because of this medication, we would like to invite you to have your case reviewed for free by one of our expert lawyers.
Contact us today to arrange your free case evaluation so that you can speak with an award winning Pradaxa injury attorney. We will gather the information we need to get to the bottom of your claim and let you know more about your legal rights and options so that you know exactly what to expect from your claim. If we are unable to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to, our services will cost you nothing.