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Drugmaker settles for $650 million after dangerous product claims

A German drugmaker accused of marketing an unsafe medication in the U.S. has agreed to pay a whopping $650 million for a settlement in the case. Official reports show that the company, which resolved the matter in a federal court in Illinois, anticipates paying out more than $162,000 in civil compensation per case. The drug in question, Pradaxa, is a blood thinner. The company was accused of failing to warn consumers about the risks in consuming the dangerous product.

Unlike other blood-thinning medications, Pradaxa does not have an antidote. That means that if an individual begins to hemorrhage, it will be impossible to stop the bleeding. The German company that produces the medication, Boehringer Ingelheim, contends that worldwide tests have confirmed the safety and usefulness of Pradaxa, which is a commonly prescribed alternative to the generations-old Warfarin.

The company is, in fact, so confident in its product that it has sought additional markets for the medication. Boehringer Ingelheim is seeking permission to market the medication as a solution to deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when a large blood clot forms in a major blood vessel. Pradaxa may also soon be used to treat pulmonary embolism, a dangerous condition in which a blood clot travels to the lungs.

The company said that it chose to settle because it was not confident that juries full of laypeople could appropriately interpret scientific findings. No matter the reason, the fact remains that scores of Pradaxa users -- and their surviving family members -- are slated to receive financial compensation because they were unknowingly prescribed such a dangerous product. At the very least, consumers deserve to know the risks of the medication they are consuming; this settlement may encourage drug manufacturers to be more forthright in the future.

Source: Time, "$650M Settlement Reached Over Blood Thinner" No author given, May. 28, 2014

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