U.S. JPML To Weigh Centralization of Suboxone Tooth Decay Lawsuits At Hearing Jan. 25, 2024

At least 15 Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits have already been filed in five different U.S. District Courts, with hundreds of additional claims under active investigation by lawyers nationwide.

A panel of federal judges will hear oral arguments next month to determine whether Suboxone tooth decay lawsuits being filed throughout the federal court system should all be consolidated before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings; a move that is supported by both the manufacturer of the opioid addiction drugs and plaintffs’ lawyers.

Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, for treatment of recovering opioid addicts; helping them avoid withdrawal symptoms while undergoing therapy to help them break their addiction.

While originally sold as a tablet, the drug makers subsequently introduced Suboxone film, which users place beneath the tongue until it is dissolved. However, users have reported experiencing devastating dental injuries from Suboxone film, including tooth decay and loss, and a growing number of former users are now pursuing lawsuits against the drug maker seeking financial compensation for failing to disclose the risks to users and the medical community.

It was not until early 2022 that Suboxone tooth decay warnings were added to the medication, after the FDA identified more than 300 cases of dental problems reported to the agency. Plaintiffs each raise similar allegations indicating that they may have avoided permanent dental damage if they had been warned about the risks and instructed to take certain steps to avoid erosion of enamel and tooth loss.

Suboxone Lawsuit

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Lawsuits are being pursued by users of Suboxone who experienced tooth loss, broken teeth or required dental extractions. Settlement benefits may be available.

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Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, several plaintiffs joined together to file a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on November 14, calling for the centralization of all lawsuits over Suboxone lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

This was followed by a response in support of a Suboxone MDL filed by the manufacturer on December 6, which indicated that consolidated pretrial proceedings were needed for the rapidly growing litigation that will soon sprawl throughout the federal court system.

JPML Agrees to Hear Suboxone Consolidation Arguments

In a Notice of Hearing Session (PDF) issued on December 15, the JPML announced it will hear oral arguments over Suboxone tooth decay lawsuit consolidation on January 25, at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Federal Building in Santa Barbara, California.

According to the notice, there are currently 15 such claims filed in five different district courts, with most of the cases pending in the Northern District of Ohio.

In complex pharmaceutical litigation, where large numbers of claims are brought by users of the same medication or medical product, each experiencing the same or similar injuries, it is common for the U.S. JPML to centralize the litigation to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in all claims, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of certain witnesses and parties who will be required to testify in each of the lawsuits.

As Suboxone tooth decay lawyers continue to review and file claims for individuals who experienced dental erosion after receiving the opioid addiction treatment, it is ultimately expected that hundreds of claims will be brought throughout the federal court system.

After the hearing, the JPML will determine whether to transfer the claims to one court and confirm the judge appointed to preside over the proceedings.

Following coordinated discovery and any bellwether trials if a Suboxone MDL is formed, if the parties are unable to resolve the dental injury claims through a Suboxone settlement agreement, each individual claim would later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.


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