MDL Sought for Nexium, Prilosec Lawsuits Over Kidney Problems

As a growing number of lawsuits continue to be filed nationwide over the risk of kidney problems from Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors (PPI), a request was filed this week seeking to centralize and consolidate the cases as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

In a motion (PDF) filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on October 17, a group of plaintiffs asked that complaints filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country be transferred to one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings

Proton pump inhibitors are a popular class of heartburn and acid reflux drugs, which are used by millions of Americans. The class includes blockbuster brand names like Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Dexilant and others.

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Since the manufacturers have disclosed few serious side effects associated with the medications, many individuals remain on PPI drugs long-term, with little or no attempt to reduce use. However, several studies published in recent years have uncovered that the drugs may cause some users to face an increased risk of kidney injury, acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.

While there are currently only a handful of failure to warn cases filed against the drug makers nationwide, attorneys who brought the MDL motion indicate that they intend to file nearly 100 cases in the coming weeks, and that they are currently investigating more than 5,000 potential Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits,Dexilant lawsuits and other claims involving proton pump inhibitors.

“Many of the complaints in the PPI cases assert similar causes of action, including: negligence, design defect, failure to warn, fraudulent concealment, warranty claims, and loss of consortium,” the motion states. “All of the complaints make very similar factual allegations and, thus, any necessary discovery will arise from common questions of fact.”

Centralizing the Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI lawsuits before one judge is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the litigation, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

The motion calls for the cases to be consolidated in the Middle District of Louisiana.

Heartburn Drug Kidney Risks

The first warnings about any kidney issues with PPIs were added to the drug labels in December 2014, indicating that there may be a risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) risk from Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors. This condition involves inflammation of the kidneys, but plaintiffs maintain that the warnings do not go far enough to raise awareness about the serious risks associated with these medications.

In April 2015, a study published in the medical journal CMAJ Open found that Nexium, Prilosec, and other PPIs cause a 3 times higher risk of acute interstitial nephritis, but were also associated with a 2.5 times higher risk of acute kidney injury, which involves an abrupt loss of kidney function.

Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine built on these findings, examining data on more than 10,000 participants over a period of more than 10 years, finding that the drugs were also associated with a higher incidence of chronic kidney disease.

In April 2016, researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs found that users of Nexium, Prilosec or other PPIs may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease after five years of use.

If an MDL is established for the Nexium and Prilosec lawsuits, as acid reflux drug lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming weeks and months, they would be transferred into the consolidated proceedings. However, if settlements or another resolution is not reached in the MDL, each case may ultimately be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date in the future.

2 Comments

  • RobertNovember 4, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Have been on ppi,s for years. Currently on protonix.

  • NancyOctober 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    What about Zantac?

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