Attorneys across the country are gearing up for a second round of litigation against Boehringer Ingelheim, led by patients who suffered severe bleeding injuries after taking the German company’s anticoagulant Pradaxa. Only two years ago, Boehringer settled more than 4,000 lawsuits for a total of $650 million, but it’s likely that thousands of other patients and families, just as deserving, were locked out of that settlement.
3 Steps To Finding The Right Pradaxa Attorney
There is still hope, both for patients and for families who have lost loved ones to this potentially dangerous drug. Filing a Pradaxa lawsuit may be the only way for many Americans to recover a measure of security through extremely trying times. But filing a lawsuit, of any type, isn’t something to take lightly, and we hear from dozens of people everyday who are scared of getting wrapped up in lengthy legal proceedings.
Finding the right attorney to handle your case is absolutely essential, both to reduce stress now and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in the future. Here are 3 tips on narrowing down your counsel options:
1. Check A Lawyer’s Website For Experience
Most research into attorneys starts on the internet. That’s great, but you need to know where to look. If you want to pursue a Pradaxa lawsuit, you’ll need an attorney with experience handling product liability lawsuits, specifically lawsuits involving dangerous drugs.
First, check out an attorney’s “Results” or “Verdicts & Settlements” page. This is where you’ll find major cases they’ve handled, and hopefully, won. Make sure the lawyers you look into further have secured compensation in multiple dangerous drug lawsuits.
2. Call For A Free Consultation
Once you’ve narrowed down the million or so practicing attorneys in America to a handful of local, experienced lawyers, give each one a call. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, so take advantage of this opportunity to find out more.
In every consultation, attorneys try to evaluate a potential client’s case, figuring out what, if any, legal basis for a lawsuit exists. You should be “vetting” the lawyer just as stringently. Here are a few questions to start off with:
- Have you ever handled cases similar to mine?
- How many of those cases have you won? Can you tell me what percentage of lawsuits you’ve resolved successfully?
- Do you have any extra certifications that might make you particularly qualified to take my case?
- How does your fee structure work? Do you work on a contingency-fee basis? If so, how much of the ultimate award or settlement will I have to pay you?
Be sure to jot down their answers so you can compare them to the responses of other attorneys. But pay attention to every lawyer’s demeanor, too. Do they seem honestly concerned about your well-being? You want to find a professional, but you’ll also benefit from choosing an attorney that you like as a person. This is someone you’ll be working with a lot.
3. Check Up On Ethical Violations
You’ve narrowed down your options, and narrowed them more by speaking to some lawyers on the phone or in person. Hopefully, you’ve set your sights on 2 or 3 attorneys who seem like a good fit.
Now contact your state’s attorney discipline organization. Most of these organizations will have an online form that allows you to search for a specific attorney and learn about any ethical violations they’ve been cited for in the past. Make sure the lawyer you ultimately choose has a spotless record.
Why Patients Filed Lawsuits
Pradaxa was approved in 2010, and almost immediately the anticoagulant was hailed as a “revolution” in the treatment of blood clots. Unlike warfarin, the traditional blood thinner in use for more than 60 years, Pradaxa didn’t require regular blood monitoring. It was also safer and more effective than classic treatment methods.
But no sooner had Pradaxa entered the market did patients begin experiencing life-threatening internal bleeding. In the drug’s first year of use, the FDA received more severe adverse event reports related to Pradaxa than any other drug.
Boehringer Ingelheim, the drug’s manufacturer, had made much of Pradaxa’s admirable benefit-risk profile in marketing materials. But far less-publicized was the fact that Pradaxa was approved without a reversal agent. In contrast to warfarin, which can be effectively reversed with a shot of vitamin K, Pradaxa didn’t have an antidote, leaving patients to bleed uncontrollably after injuries or surgical procedures.
Soon after becoming aware of Pradaxa’s significant risks, consumer advocates began to question the methods and accuracy of the clinical trials on which the drug’s approval was based. Investigative reports even uncovered evidence that the FDA’s own reviewers had scrutinized Boehringer’s claim that Pradaxa was just as safe and effective as warfarin.
Thousands Of Suits End In Multi-Million Dollar Settlement
It wasn’t long before patients began filing lawsuits. By 2014, more than 4,000 Pradaxa patients, joined by widows and widowers who had lost their loved ones to irreversible bleeds, had filed suit against Boehringer Ingelheim. Eventually consolidated in Illinois, these legal claims accused the German drug manufacturer of concealing Pradaxa’s risks from the public, and hiding damning study results from the FDA.
Under considerable public pressure, Boehringer decided that settling the lawsuits was preferable to seeing them through lengthy, and ultimately costly, court trials. On May 28, 2014, on the eve of the first Pradaxa trial, Boehringer Ingelheim announced that it had reached a settlement agreement, resolving over 4,000 lawsuits for $650 million.
Is A New Wave Of Pradaxa Cases Coming?
Much has changed since that day. Pradaxa now has an antidote, a drug called Praxbind approved by the FDA on October 16, 2015. More prominent warnings about the drug’s risk of bleeding have been added to its label. But patients continue to suffer serious harm, and families continue to be affected.
Legal experts believe that a second wave of Pradaxa litigation is on the horizon. In fact, some attorneys say that thousands of new lawsuits are coming, enough to warrant another Multidistrict Litigation. It’s clear that numerous patients, even those who suffered severe injuries from internal bleeding, were left out of Boehringer Ingelheim’s initial settlement.
How Will This Time Be Different?
It’s not yet clear how attorneys will pursue these new Pradaxa lawsuits. Most of the early lawsuits were based on state law “failure-to-warn” claims, arguing that the drug’s manufacturer had failed in its duty to warn the public of Pradaxa’s safety risks. With Pradaxa’s safety labeling now updated, that argument may no longer hold water. Another option may be arguing that Pradaxa is defective in design.
Each state, however, has a statute of limitations restricting the amount of time patients have to file a drug liability lawsuit. Six years have passed since Pradaxa’s approval, and that means some patients may have lost the right to sue over their injuries. It’s absolutely essential that you contact an experienced Pradaxa lawyer as soon as possible, to preserve your rights.