U.S. District Court Orders $1 Million as Sanctions in Discovery Abuses in Predaxa Drug Lawsuits

Federal District Court Judge Hon. David R. Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois has ordered that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) pay $1 million in sanctions for discovery abuses in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the oral anticoagulant Predaxa. This same U.S. Federal District Court, also in the Southern District of Illinois, is where many of the country’s  Yasmin and YAZ (Drospirenone)  birth control injury cases are being handled; also in an MDL.

Judge Herndon found that BIPI, the maker of Predaxa, had chosen not to produce thousands of documents to the plaintiffs, which the judge determined was bad-faith conduct. 

According to the order, BIPI and its German parent company were unable to explain why it chose not to produce critical documents and communications by a deadline set by the judge. The deadline was in June 2012. 

The court order noted that BIPI had repeatedly maintained that it had lost or accidentally destroyed or recently just discovered evidence that was requested. In addition, Judge Herndon ordered that the company not only pay $933,500 as a sanction, but ordered the company to produce executives for depositions in New York or another convenient locale for the plaintiffs’ attorneys. 

One of the important documents withheld are those in the files of a top scientist at Boehringer who was deeply involved with Predaxa, but had not been previously identified by BIPI as a potential source of relevant information.  Further, the court ordered that the defendant’s clinical science consultant and medical science liaisons produce text messages and other digital documents. 

Over the last two years, Boehringer has been the subject of litigation related to the drug Predaxa, which with FDA approval in October 2010 was to reduce clotting risks in patients with atrial fibrillation, not caused by a heart valve problem. Users of Predaxa have claimed that they have experienced bleeding problems and other injuries, which  led to the filing of these federal lawsuits as early as March 2012. The use of Predaxa has been linked to increased risks of heart attacks compared with other anticoagulants.  

In spite of the fact that the FDA has not withdrawn its approval of the use of Predaxa, the cases in the Southern District of Illinois and the MDL continue. One of the issues in MDL cases is that the drug manufacturer had not provided the necessary labeling disclosures.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling mass tort cases involving pharmaceutical defects and medical device defects for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Roscoe Village (Chicago), Bedford Park, South Holland, Glenwood, Lansing, Lynwood, Richton Park, Park Forest, South Chicago Heights, Orland Park, Joliet and Tinley Park, Ill.

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