Pradaxa Bleeding Dangers and Conduct Reach New Highs and Lows
This is Michael Brady Lynch, lead trial attorney for The Michael Brady Lynch Firm.
Every day I am dismayed at the continued use of Pradaxa as a purported safe and effective alternative to warfarin for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. In reality, Pradaxa has morphed into a national health disaster of uncontrollable bleeding.
Pradaxa Bleeding Dangers
Within the course of just the last 5 days, I have been contacted by two separate individuals. Both are seeking representation for the bleeding death of a loved one. The first was a widower calling on behalf of his beloved wife of over 40 years. The second was a devoted son who lost his mother only a few days ago from another internal bleeding event. In both cases, the bleeding suffered was uncontrollable. And as Pradaxa has no reversal agent, the most a doctor can do is hang unit after unit of blood to replenish the body. Then, pray for a miracle.
And in a new low for MDL litigation, the conduct of Boehringer Ingelheim in defense of Pradaxa has been nothing short of reprehensible. I have been involved with pharmaceutical cases for over 16 years. I have served on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC) in the Pradaxa MDL. In the entirety of my practice, I have never seen a defendant so cavalier with basic discovery obligations.
Discovery abuse in just one clear-cut example of the abuse of the litigation process by Boehringer Ingelheim. In December, Judge Herndon hit Boehringer Ingelheim with a nearly $1 million penalty for discovery abuses in cases pending in the Pradaxa MDL. The judge subsequently ruled that the court may slap the drugmaker with even more sanctions.
In furtherance of this conduct, BII, the German parent of fellow defendant Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., subsequently informed Judge David Herndon that it has access to the so-called user share for a former employee, Thorstein Lehr, even though it had previously said the file was unavailable. In addition, it did not keep Lehr’s smartphone and computers.
In an order, Judge Herndon found that BII had acted in bad faith by destroying or failing to preserve the phone and computers in order to hide information that could hurt it in court. Lehr was a high-level scientist at BII who worked on Pradaxa. Plaintiffs allege they experienced bleeding events and other injuries as a result of taking the drug.
After both sides complete discovery for the bellwether cases, the judge may issue an adverse jury instruction. This instruction is related to the misconduct or imposes another non-monetary penalty, such as striking certain affirmative defenses or barring BII from making certain arguments at trial, the judge said.
“BII is unable to comply with this court’s directive to provide Professor Lehr’s complete custodial file,” Judge Herndon said. “The court finds fault in BII’s inability to comply with this discovery order … with respect to Professor Lehr’s custodial file, BII acted unreasonably, negligently, willfully and in bad faith.”
Time will tell in the upcoming months if Boehringer Ingelheim will put safety ahead of profits. They can do this by adding additional, necessary warnings to the Pradaxa label. Time will also tell if Boehringer Ingelheim will confirm its conduct to a level of fair play and honesty in the litigation process.
If a doctor prescribed you or a loved one Pradaxa and you suffered a bleeding event, contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation review of your case.