Nexium Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against AstraZeneca, Generic Makers

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By: Austin Kirk | Published: November 16th, 2012

AstraZeneca and a number of generic drug manufacturers face at least two Nexium class action lawsuits that allege the companies engaged in anticompetitive agreements to delay the release of generic versions of the blockbuster heartburn drug.

The complaints were filed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 Health and Welfare Fund (PDF), and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Employee Benefits Fund (PDF) against AstraZeneca, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories among others.

The electrical workers fund class action was filed last month in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Carpenters fund lawsuit was filed on November 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

According to the lawsuits, AstraZeneca paid off the generic drug manufacturers to keep them from releasing generic extended release versions of Nexium. The funds claim this action was anticompetitive, and resulted in consumers paying more for Nexium than they should have, since the generic version would have driven down prices to a fraction of the brand name cost.

The agreements, reached between AstraZeneca and various generic manufacturers between 2008 and 2011, delay the release of generic Nexium until May 27, 2014. The lawsuits seek class action status to include anyone who has had to buy Nexium since April 14, 2008.

Nexium is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States, approved for treatment of acid reflux and other stomach disorders.  It is part of a class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which also includes Prevacid, Protonix, and Prilosec.  However, Nexium is the most popular of the class, with more than $6 billion in annual sales.

AstraZeneca already faces more than 1,000 product liability lawsuits involving the popular drug, alleging that the drug maker has failed to adequately warn about the risk of bone fractures, osteoporosis and other bone problems caused by side effects of Nexium.

Later this month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear oral arguments over whether the federal Nexium injury lawsuits should be consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, for pretrial proceedings.

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There Is One Comment So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. I took this drug for quite a few years and it always put me in the donut hole before the end of the year. Then I had to pay full price that was outrageous. The co-pay was expensive as well due to the fact that it was Nexium. It’s very expensive. It presented a hardship on my husband and myself many times due to the fact that we are retired and the doctors insisted that I take Nexium. It’s a very good drug and it doesn’t surprise me at all if they paid off the generic manufactures. I am now taking another drug for acid reflux that does not work very well, but I have no other choice as I no longer can afford Nexium at all since my insurance does not cover it at all. My doc would prefer me to take Nexium but as I said, I cannot afford it, therefore, they put me on another drug that does not work as well.

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