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AstraZeneca and Takeda Pharmaceuticals allegedly misrepresented information about the potential side effects of Nexium and Prevacid, withholding information about the kidney risks associated with the heartburn drugs, according to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed by an Idaho man.
In a complaint (PDF) brought last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, Terry Buzbee indicates that he developed an acute kidney injury after taking Nexium and Prevacid, which resulted in the need for hospitalization and left him with the need for continuing medical treatment.
Prevacid and Nexium are blockbuster medications, which are part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI). The drugs are commonly used for heartburn and peptic disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease and gastropathy caused by the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The medications have been aggressively marketed in recent years, and are used by millions of Americans based on indications by the manufacturers that they are safe and carry few serious side effects.
“When warning of safety and risks of Nexium and Prevacid, Defendants negligently represented to the medical and healthcare community, the Food and Drug Administration, to Plaintiff and the public in general, that Nexium and Prevacid had been tested and was found to be safe and/or effective for its indicated use,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants concealed their knowledge of Nexium and Prevacid’s defects, from Plaintiff, the FDA, the public in general and/or the medical community specifically.”
A number of independent studies published in recent years have found that users of PPI drugs face a variety of serious kidney risks, including problems with acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), acute kidney injury (AKI), chronic kidney disease (CKD), end stage renal failure and other complications. In addition to Prevacid and Nexium, other popular proton pump inhibitors include Prilosec, Protonix, Dexilant and others.
The case filed by Buzbee joins a growing number of similar Nexium lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits and Dexilant lawsuits brought by individuals nationwide in recent months, each involving similar allegations that the drug makers withheld information about the risks associated with long-term use of the medications.
As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming months and years, it is expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of similar acute kidney injury lawsuits may be filed over the failure to warn about the side effects of PPI medications.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, late last year a group of plaintiffs asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to centralize all cases before one federal judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings earlier this year. However, following a hearing in January, the panel denied the request, indicating that there were too many different competing drug makers involved in the litigation and other individual issues to justify centralized management. Therefore, the complaint filed by Buzbee and other similar cases are proceeding in separate U.S. District Courts nationwide.