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According to the latest court records, there are approximately 13,800 Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits and other claims pending throughout the federal court system over side effects of PPI-based heart burn drugs, which have been linked to reports of kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and other injuries.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include some of the most widely recognized brand-name drugs on the market in the United States, including Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant and others.
While drug makers have promoted the medications as safe and effective treatments for heart burn, which many believe carry few serious side effects, lawsuits have been filed in recent years that allege users and the medical community were not adequately warned about potential health risks, including acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal failure and other complications associated with the medications.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in cases, all PPI drug lawsuits are currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi, who has been presiding over the coordination of all discovery and pretrial proceedings in the federal court system.
In a status report (PDF) issued on May 17, the parties indicate there are 13,800 cases filed in federal courts nationwide, with at least another 59 product liability lawsuits filed in Delaware Superior Court, and 42 claims pending in New Jersey state court.
The parties are scheduled to meet with Judge Cecchi today for a telephone status conference to discuss the litigation and progress on bellwether case, including a final pretrial schedule for the first of a claims that will go before juries starting on January 24, 2022.
While the outcome of these early test cases will not be binding on thousands of other Nexium and Prilosec claims pending in the MDL, they will be closely watched by parties involved in the litigation, as it will gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.
Nexium, Prilosec Kidney Risks
The proton pump inhibitor litigation first emerged several years ago, following the publication of studies suggesting users may face certain kidney problems from Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid and other similar heartburn medications, which was not disclosed to consumers and the medical community.
The FDA required new warnings about potential PPI kidney risks for the first time in December 2014, indicating use of the drugs may increase the risk of a form of kidney damage known as acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), which involves a sudden inflammation of the kidneys, which can lead to more severe problems. However, plaintiffs maintain this warning remains inadequate and vague, failing to mention the drugs may cause an acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
In January 2016, an independent study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.
These findings were followed by another study published in April 2016, in which 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.
As consumers have learned about a link between their heartburn drug and kidney problems suffered in recent years, a rapidly growing number of lawsuits have been filed throughout the federal court system in recent years.
Following the series of bellwether trials, if the parties fail to reach settlements or otherwise resolve large numbers of cases, Judge Cecchi is likely to start remanding cases back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.