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According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, side effects of Nexium 24HR and Prilosec OTC caused the wrongful death of a New Mexico man, who was diagnosed with gastric cancer after years of taking the popular drugs.
Nexium and Prilosec are two of the most widely recognized brand-name acid reflux and heartburn medications on the market in the United States, and are part of a larger class of treatments known as PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors.
While most consumers believe the drugs are safe and carry few serious health risks, a growing number of lawsuits have been filed in recent years, which allege that important safety information and warnings have been withheld from users and the medical community.
In a complaint (PDF) filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Daisy Perez seeks damages on behalf of herself and the Estate of Domingo Perez, who died of metastatic gastric cancer after taking Nexium and Prilosec.
The case joins more than 13,000 Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits and other claims brought throughout the federal court system against AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Procter & Gamble and other manufacturers of PPI-based drugs, which are consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi.
Although most of the litigation involves allegations that the pharmaceutical companies failed to warn about serious kidney risks associated with Nexium and Prilosec, including acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end state renal failure, a steadily growing number of gastric cancer lawsuits have also been filed, many of which involve wrongful death allegations.
Concerns about the stomach cancer risks with Nexium and Prilosec gained national attention after the publication of two studies in late 2017, which found that side effects of PPI medications may increase the risk of gastric tumors.
Perez brought her lawsuit through a “Short Form Complaint”, which adopts allegations and claims from a “Master Long Form Complaint” filed in the MDL, where the parties are engaged in common fact discovery and preparing a small group of “bellwether” cases for early trial dates expected to begin next year.
Although the outcome of these trials will not be binding on other plaintiffs, they will be closely watched to gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.