Families suing the maker of anti-clotting drug Pradaxa will have their cases consolidated in an East St. Louis, Illinois, court -- a decision the Texas-based law firm leading the suits is calling a coup.
Pradaxa hit the U.S. market in 2010, hailed by manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim as a major leap forward in the treatment of a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. But, in a series of lawsuits filed nationwide in late 2011, plaintiffs have accused the drugmaker of hiding, or largely dismissing, the fact that there is no effective way to treat patients who bleed out. (Doctors can treat patients who suffer a bad bleed while taking warfarin, the old-school atrial fibrillation medication Pradaxa was meant to outperform).
Approximately 1.1 million prescriptions were dispensed between October 2010 and August 2011, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Plaintiffs' attorney Ryan L. Thompson of Watts Guerra Craft told Hair Balls the firm wanted the litigation moved to the Southern District of Illinois in large part because the advanced age of many of the clients makes the case time-sensitive. The district "has an average time to trial of 22.6 months," much quicker than the three-year average in the Connecticut court favored by Boehringer Ingelheim, Thompson told us in an e-mail.
"In an aging client population, we are always deeply concerned that our clients will get to see their day in court. At times, delay can result in the denial of justice, and that was something we could not accept for our clients," wrote Thompson, managing partner of the firm's mass torts division.
Thompson also told us that U.S. District Court Judge David Herndon, who will hear the Pradaxa cases, "has a history of moving cases particularly well within the Southern District."
Herndon oversaw a similar litigation for the contraceptive Yaz.
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"Through diligent effort and excellent management of his docket, Judge Herndon was able to get the Yaz litigation into settlement posture in a mere two years," Thompson told us.
We're just anxious to see what information surfaces during these suits, and if the drug manufacturer was really as reckless as the plaintiffs allege. All of this could've been avoided if Boehringer Ingelheim had added a two-second notice to its commercials of old dudes picking strawberries and husking corn with their adorably tow-headed progeny in sprawling, verdant vistas that said, "Hey, Pops, this drug is so much more convenient than anything else on the market, but if you start bleeding, you're totes fucked, yo."
That way, no one could ever convince Boehringer of hiding anything. But then again, this might just be another reason why we never excelled in the exciting world of advertising.