Boehringer facing more than 2,000 U.S. lawsuits over blood thinner
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[February 14, 2014]
— German drugmaker
Boehringer Ingelheim said on Thursday it is facing more than 2,000
lawsuits in the United States over claims its blockbuster drug
Pradaxa, the first in a new class of stroke prevention pills, caused
severe and fatal bleeding.
The unlisted company confirmed the number of cases
reported on Thursday by German newspaper Handelsblatt, adding the
risk of side effects was known and had to be weighed against the
drug's life saving potential.
"We are certain that we can show in the legal cases that we have
worked very carefully and responsibly in research, development and
marketing of Pradaxa," the company said in a written statement.
Pradaxa was the first to market in a promising new class of
medicines designed to replace decades-old warfarin to prevent
strokes in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation, a form of
irregular heartbeat common among the elderly.
Like other blood thinners, Pradaxa's benefit of cutting the rate of
fatal or debilitating strokes in the elderly comes at the risk of
internal bleeding, which can also cost lives.
Boehringer cited a recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration as showing that Pradaxa users ran a lower risk of
severe bleedings than patients on warfarin.
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Sales of the pill — which competes with Bayer and Johnson &
Johnson's Xarelto as well as Bristol Myers-Squibb and Pfizer's
Eliquis — were 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in 2012, its second
year of market approval.
(Reporting by Frank Siebelt and Ludwig
Burger; editing by David Evans)
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