A complaint was filed last week in Ohio alleging that side effects of Prilosec OTC increase the risk of food poisoning. The case was filed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of all individuals who purchased Prilosec OTC since 2004.
Prilosec (omeprazole magnesium) is a proton pump inhibitor used for treatment of chronic heartburn, acid reflux and peptic ulcer disease. It became available as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication in 2003, and generated sales of about $1 billion last year.
The Prilosec class action lawsuit was filed on May 29, 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against Proctor & Gamble and AstraZeneca PLC. The complaint alleges that the drug makers knew about the Prilosec food poisoning risk, as the drug reduces bacteria-fighting acid in the stomach, but they failed to adequately warn consumers.
The named plaintiff in the Prilosec lawsuit is Thomas Mitchell, of Powell, Ohio, who started taking Prilosec OTC in July 2008. Mitchell claims that while taking the drug, he suffered from food poisoning symptoms that required medical treatment at least twice.
On one of the occasions, Mitchell states that he experienced food poisoning after a buffet-style dinner party with many other people, where he was only person who became ill.
According to the complaint, although the drug makers knew that Prilosec side effects decreases the amount of stomach acid, which has a negative effect on the stomach’s ability to destroy harmful bacteria when it is first ingested, they mislead consumers and indicated that users could continue to eat the foods they enjoy.
Prilosec OTC has been taken by thousands of consumers according to the complaint, and the Plaintiff believes that the number of class members encompassed in the lawsuit will exceed 500 people.
After AstraZeneca lost patent protection in 2002, generic forms of the drug became available. The drug maker enhanced and repackaged Prilosec as Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), which works much the same way. Nexium sales exceeded $5 billion last year.