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Pradaxa & Boehringer Ingelheim – With Great Profits Comes Great Responsibility

January 1, 1970 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals is a well known German pharmaceutical company with offices around the world, including the United States. Recently, the company announced that 2011 was an extremely successful year financially, with a net sales increase of 6.2% from 2010. Boehringer Ingelheim’s Prescription Medicines business, with growth of 8.2%, grew faster than the world pharmaceutical market. “Thanks to our continued investment in our own research and development, we are starting a new period of growth,” according to Professor Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors.

Pradaxa was one Boehringer’s Ingelheim most successful products last year, with 2011 being its first full year on the market in the United States. In the USA alone, Pradaxa generated sales of $829 million dollars. Notably, the drug has now achieved “blockbuster” status. “The launch of Pradaxa is among the most successful market introductions in the pharmaceutical industry in the past few years,” said Hubertus von Baumbach, another member of the board of managing directors, in a statement. Clearly, the company is very proud of Pradaxa.

Such quotes and extraordinary profits make the emerging Pradaxa health crisis even more eye-opening; if the company has reaped such tremendous profits, and has such dedication to research and development, then why was Pradaxa rushed to the market without a reversal agent?

It is also noteworthy that Boehringer Ingelheim announced the launch of the GLORIA TM-AF Registry Program, set to become a worldwide registry with the aim of understanding the long-term use of oral antithrombotic therapy in the prevention of non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF)-related stroke in a real-world setting, in other words, it is partially set up to monitor people who take Pradaxa and find out what is happening with their usage of the drug.

While such research interests may look benign, beneficial, and even commendable on the surface, it begs another fundamental question: if the dangers of Pradaxa are unknown and unpredictable, then why is the drug on the market?

The answer to both of the above questions appears to be simple; there are $832 million reasons and growing.