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Pradaxa Bleeding Event Lawsuits Continue to Flow Unabated

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Hartford, CTAs we move into September and an end to the summer season with a return to classes, it’s instructive to revisit the onset of summer two years ago and the $650 million Pradaxa side effects settlement offered by Pradaxa manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim over its troubled new-age blood thinner.

Two years later, the lawsuits are still coming.

Pradaxa was the first in a series of breakthroughs in the blood thinning sector known as novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs). Hailed as the long-awaited successor to warfarin, the NOAC class was introduced with much fanfare as not requiring the degree of ongoing testing and dietary restrictions necessary for treatment with warfarin, known commercially as Coumadin. Both patients and their caregivers had long lamented the ongoing monitoring efforts needed for the 50-year-old blood thinner in order to prevent a bleeding event, and had long advocated for a quicker, easier and better way.

Along came the NOACs with Pradaxa first out of the gate, and dabigatran (Pradaxa) was embraced with abandon. And yet, as the realities inherent to ‘easier and better’ have proven, Pradaxa and it’s close cousin Xarelto have revealed a disastrous Achilles’ heel that has caused grievous health consequences, and have cost many blood thinner patients their lives through uncontrolled Pradaxa bleeding.

Blood thinners are necessary for patients at risk for stroke. To avoid the potential for life-threatening blood clots, blood thinners perform the task implied by its description - thinning the blood so it will move through narrowed arteries more freely, and not be quite as prone to blood clots. It is well-known by now that Coumadin - as indicative of all blood thinners - fostered a risk for uncontrolled bleeding, hence the reason for diligent monitoring. But Coumadin could be reversed in the event of an uncontrolled hemorrhage, or for planned surgery, with an infusion of Vitamin K.

An antidote, if you will.

Pradaxa, however, was brought to market without equal means to reverse the blood thinning properties of dabigatran, and thus the unavailability of an important tool to help save a patient’s life.

In Canada, back in 2014, CTV News (05/28/14) reported on the plight of Susan Garau, who suffered Pradaxa bleeding from several parts of her body at once - including her brain, mouth and intestines. “One of the challenges with Pradaxa in particular is that if someone comes to hospital and they are bleeding we really have no way of turning it off,” said Dr. David Juurlink, a drug safety expert at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in comments to CTV News at the time. “There is no antidote to the drug and that can sometimes have significant consequences.”

Garau did not survive. She died at the age of 61, one of many Pradaxa deaths.

The lawsuits continue. No fewer than four class action Pradaxa lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks alleging Pradaxa bleeding.

The cases are Marjorie Grossbarth, and others similarly situated, v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Boehringer Ingelheim International Gmbh, with similar cases filed by plaintiffs Patricia Love, Joseph Marconi Sr., and Vivian Saylor.

The class action Pradaxa lawsuits were filed in Connecticut Superior Court, Hartford
Judicial District.

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