Nexium, Prilosec Settlement Reached To Resolve Kidney Damage Lawsuits Against AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $425 million as part of a Nexium and Prilosec settlement agreement, which seeks to resolve 11,000 lawsuits over kidney injuries that allegedly resulted from side effects of the popular heartburn drugs.
Nexium and Prilosec are both part of a popular class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI), which also includes Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant and others.
Although the drugs have been widely used for years, based on the belief they were safe and carried few serious side effects, thousands of Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, and other claims have been filed against the drug makers in recent years, each raising similar allegations that users were left with acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal failure and other side effects from PPI medications.
In a press release issued on October 3, AstraZeneca confirmed that it has agreed to pay nearly a half billion to resolve their role in the litigation. The deal follows prior combined settlements of $108 million reached with manufacturers of other proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, including GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, and Pfizer.
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Nexium, Prilosec Settlement Agreement
Given common questions of fact and law raised in thousands of complaints brought throughout the federal court system, the litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in New Jersey since late 2019, as part of an MDL or multi-district litigation.
AstraZeneca indicates it has agreed to pay $425 million to resolve about 11,000 lawsuits filed against it over its Nexium and Prilosec PPI heartburn drugs, leaving only one case unresolved against the manufacturer, which is expected to go to trial in April 2024 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
The manufacturer provided no further details of the settlement agreement, indicating that it still maintains the drugs are safe and the cases are without merit, despite its agreement to resolve the lawsuits.
The same day the Nexium and Prilosec settlement was announced, Judge Cecchi issued a case management order (PDF), which stays all requirements and deadlines involving plaintiffs who claim to have used an AstraZeneca heartburn drug. The Court indicates it will provide guidance to plaintiffs using other Defendants’ products not resolved by this or previous settlements in a future case management order.
In a separate docket control order (PDF), Judge Cecchi also outlined new requirements for how claims that do not settle will move forward.
“This order requires all Litigating Plaintiffs to produce certain specified information regarding their claims and provides for expedited bifurcated discovery on statute of limitations, other time-based defenses, and causation issues, and related dispositive motion practice, prior to any further discovery,” the order states. “Litigating Plaintiffs who represent themselves pro se shall be bound by the requirements of this order and shall fully comply with all obligations required of counsel by this order, unless otherwise stated.”
The settlement agreement was announced just days before the first bellwether trial was slated to begin on October 10 involving a plaintiff who developed chronic kidney disease after taking Nexium.
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