Elmiron Settlement Conference Scheduled Following Resolution of “Substantial Portion” of Vision Damage Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson has faced nearly 2,000 Elmiron lawsuits in recent years, alleging that the interstitial cystitis drug caused vision problems, blindness.

According to court records, settlements have been reached to resolve a “substantial portion” of all lawsuits filed over the vision loss side effects of Elmiron\, but the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation has ordered a settlement conference for next month to discuss unresolved claims.

Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) is a prescription medication for treatment of interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, which is often taken by users for years, since there is no cure of the underlying condition.

While the medication was marketed as safe and effective, former users now report that they have been left with a rare form of eye problems from Elmiron, known as pigmentary maculopathy, which results in progressive vision loss, blurry vision, distorted vision, difficulty adapting to dim light and other symptoms from damage to the retina.

As a result, nearly 2,000 Elmiron lawsuits have been filed in recent years, each raising similar allegations that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary provided false and misleading information for decades about the risk of vision loss, and failed to warn doctors about the importance of monitoring for vision changes while taking the bladder drug, which can leave users with permanent blurry or distorted vision, as well as blindness.

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Elmiron Lawsuits

Side effects of Elmiron have been associated with vision loss and retina damage known as pigmentary maculopathy.

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Given common questions of fact and law raised in claims brought throughout the federal court system, an Elmiron MDL was established in December 2020, centralizing the litigation before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

As the parties prepared for a series of early bellwether trials to begin in early 2023, lawyers for Johnson & Johnson and various plaintiffs have reportedly reached Elmiron settlements to resolve individual claims. However, a number of cases continue to move forward through the U.S. court system involving claims where the drug maker has failed to make an acceptable offer.

Elmiron Settlement Conference

On January 10, Court-appointed Resolution Liaison Counsels sent a letter (PDF) to Judge Martinotti, requesting a conference to update the Court on the status of Elmiron settlement negotiations.

That conference was held on Thursday, revealing that a “substantial portion” of cases have been successfully resolved, according to a court order (PDF) issued shortly after the conference. To help facilitate resolution of additional claims, Judge Martinotti scheduled a settlement conference for February 23, 2024, and ordered certain plaintiffs’ counsel to appear in person with full settlement authority, and directed them to make sure their clients are available by telephone.

No details have been released regarding the nature of any group settlements or the average Elmiron lawsuit payout. According to a docket report (PDF) issued on January 2, at least 1,916 claims are still pending before Judge Martinotti and have not been fully dismissed.

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