Good marketing and advertising occasionally trumps quality.
If you have a mechanical prosthetic heart valve, the FDA is warning patients not to use Pradaxa to treat atrial fibrillation. In fact, the FDA says that Pradaxa should not be used in patients who have atrial fibrillation caused by heart valve problems.
As Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk report for Bloomberg Businessweek, hundreds of patients who suffered bad side effects from taking Pradaxa to prevent a stroke have sued drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim, which has made more than $1 billion in sales off Pradaxa since bringing the drug to market.
Watch out for studies testing the safety of pharmaceutical drugs when the studies are associated with the drug maker. In Sue Hughes's report on TheHeart.org, a study conducted by Trinity Partners Consultants found that Pradaxa was better than warfarin when it came to "persistence rates."
The cold remedy Zicam has come under Gary Schwitzer's crosshairs on MedPageToday, in an article in which he lambasts Matrixx Initiatives for the marketing and advertising methods it uses in selling Zicam.
Patients with atrial fibrillation are at increased risk of stroke from blood clots. In order to manage that risk, doctors might use a blood thinner like Coumadin, which has been on the market for decades. Or they might use Pradaxa, which has just recently arrived on the market.
According to the American Bar Association Journal, lawyers have filed exactly 131 cases against Boehringer Ingelheim, the global drug maker based in Germany, and one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. These suits allege that Boehringer Ingelheim's drug Pradaxa is a defective drug that has caused serious injuries and deaths among patients.
In its report, the Food and Drug Administration advises not to stop taking Pradaxa without first consulting your health care provider, but it also alerts people to the fact the FDA is investigating "serious bleeding events" in patients who are taking the blood thinner. Pradaxa is used to prevent strokes with heart rhythm problems (specifically, atrial fibrillation).
Sanjay Gupta, writing an opinion piece in the New York Times, suggests reasons why so many medical mistakes are said to occur in the nation. Gupta cites an estimate of roughly 200,000 patient deaths from medical mistakes every year, which would make it one of the leading causes of death.