January 6, 2013 – Law firms involved in the federal Pradaxa multidistrict litigation (MDL) are expected to hold meetings to discuss possible settlements later this year, as the first bellwether cases are scheduled to begin in August 2014. The Pradaxa lawsuits allege that drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim failed to adequately warn the public and medical communities about the risks involved with using its controversial anticoagulant before bringing it to market, as well as about the lack of reversal agent when internal bleeding events occur in patients being treated with the drug. In its two short years on the market, Pradaxa has been linked to more adverse injury reports than any other drug monitored by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting Pradaxa claims. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.
What’s the problem?
All Pradaxa lawsuits filed on the federal level have been consolidated into an MDL for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois. As part of the proceedings, Herndon initiated a case management plan where a number of lawsuits are being prepared for early trial dates, the first of which are set to begin in August 2014.
Additionally, Judge Herndon has ordered each side of the litigation to designate settlement counsel by July 1, 2013. The parties will then meet at least once a month to discuss settlement agreements with an independent mediator. This action is intended to give both sides a full year to negotiate before the first Pradaxa bellwether trials begin.
If settlement negotiations fail, a series of four bellwether trials will be held between August 2014 and February 2015. These trials are designed to gauge how future juries are likely to react to the evidence and testimony offered throughout the litigation process. The outcome of the bellwether trials may also help the parties come to a settlement agreement.
Manufactured and marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim, Pradaxa (generic: dabigatran) was originally intended to be a superior replacement for warfarin (a staple anticoagulant drug that has been in use for over 50 years in the United States), because it is supposedly easier to use and requires less patient monitoring. However, when unanticipated internal bleeding events occur with warfarin, they can be quickly counteracted with a single dose of vitamin k, whereas with Pradaxa there is no such antidote.
To date, at least 120 Pradaxa lawsuits have been included in the federal multidistrict litigation. MDLs are typically implemented in complex pharmaceutical litigation where a large number of claims are filed over a single prescription medication. Pretrial consolidation is intended to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges, and to serve the convenience of all parties involved in the litigation. According to a status report held last month, discovery and document production is already underway in the cases. The next conference in the MDL is scheduled for January 14 at 3:00 P.M.