Pradaxa (dabigatran) manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, has been fined $931,000 for misplacing or withholding files associated with the Pradaxa litigation. The withheld files allegedly contained information concerning several patients who have filed suit against Boehringer Ingelheim and were requested by plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Pradaxa litigation.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who is hearing more than 1,700 Pradaxa lawsuits in the Pradaxa multidistrict litigation (MDL) in East St. Louis, Illinois. Judge Herndon concluded that Boehringer Ingelheim was negligent in the preservation of the Pradaxa files in question, which included files from the early development of Pradaxa, a blood thinner prescribed to patients to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots.

According to Bloomberg News, Judge Herndon stated that “the gross inadequacy” of the company’s effort to preserve the ordered Pradaxa documents warranted the $931,000 fine. Boehringer Ingelheim must provide the files requested by the plaintiffs’ attorneys or advise the court that they are “unable to comply with the order.”

Unfortunately, Boehringer Ingelheim joins a long list of companies failing to preserve important files for a litigation. It was discovered earlier this month that Gynecare Prolift manufacturer, Ethicon, a unit of Johnson and Johnson, allegedly destroyed transvaginal mesh files that were ordered to be preserved by the court.

“Big pharmaceutical companies in the past have been known to withhold or misplace important information pertaining to their products from the public,” commented Ned McWIlliams, a Pradaxa lawyer with the Levin, Papantonio law firm.

Thousands of Pradaxa lawsuits have been filed against Boehringer Ingelheim, alleging the drug caused excessive, and sometimes fatal, internal bleeding in those prescribed. There are currently no known antidotes available to treat a Pradaxa bleed-out, and according to the Institute of Safe Medical Practices (ISMP), in 2011, Pradaxa was linked to 542 reported deaths and 3,781 incidents related to Pradaxa side effects.

Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow her on Twitter @KrystaLoera.