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Drugmaker settles products liability case involving Pradaxa

Some people may argue that Americans are too litigious and file frivolous lawsuits against companies simply in the hope of getting rich. However, the truth is that many liability-related lawsuits, including products liability cases, serve an important social function in Virginia and across the country. Lawsuits against companies that are negligent or reckless in the production of products or that engage in false or inaccurate advertising help ensure that the companies cannot continue such behavior without consequence. They also help protect public safety by bringing attention to dangerous products and medicines and getting them taken off the market.

The drugmaker of the blood thinner Pradaxa was implicated in approximately 4,000 lawsuits, which alleged that the drug caused serious bleed-outs resulting in the death of more than 500 patients. Allegations against the company also state that the drugmaker marketed the drug as a superior blood thinner without any evidence of better performance. In addition, it was recently discovered that a study funded by the company did not include over 20 serious bleeding events in the report used to win approval for the drug. The first U.S. trial was to begin in September, but the company recently agreed to pay a $650 million settlement for the majority of the lawsuits.

It is important for consumers to initiate a products liability lawsuit when a consumer injury or death results from the use of a product. Products liability lawsuits can result in a prescription drug recall or other product recall, which can save lives once it is discovered that a dangerous product is on the market. Products commonly involved in such lawsuits include prescription drugs, automobiles and home appliances.

Products liability lawsuits can be based on defects that occur in the design or manufacturing of a product, as well cases where a company provides an inadequate warning or fails to provide any warning of a known risks. These kinds of cases can be complicated because plaintiffs must conduct detained investigations to discover what the company knew about its product and the accompanying risks, when the company discovered that a risk may exist, and what a company did about the risk after its discovery. Despite the complexity of these cases, however, the results can be greatly beneficial, both in terms of compensation for the injury suffered and the satisfaction of knowing that a dangerous product will cease to be a hazard.

Source: Bloomberg, "Boehringer Pays $650 Million to End Blood-Thinner Cases," Jef Feeley, May 28, 2014

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