FRANKFURT Feb 19 U.S. courts are scheduled to
start hearing cases against Boehringer Ingelheim over its stroke
prevention pill Pradaxa in August, the German drugmaker said on
Boehringer is facing more than 2,000 lawsuits in the United
States over claims that the blockbuster drug, the first in a new
class of stroke prevention pills, caused severe and fatal
Judges have selected about a handful of so-called bellwether
trials that will be used as a reference for the remaining cases
and may guide any out-of-court settlements.
The first such case, in the form of multidistrict litigation
where several cases are bundled together, is slated to start on
Aug. 11 in East St. Louis, Illinois, court documents posted on
the Internet show.
A Boehringer spokeswoman said the schedule could be subject
Claimants accuse Boehringer of not having sufficiently
warned of the risks associated with Pradaxa.
The unlisted company has said the risk of side effects was
known and was outweighed by the drug's life-saving potential.
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.
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