Tasigna Injury Lawsuit Consolidation To Be Considered By Panel of Federal Judges Next Month

With a growing number of Tasigna injury lawsuits being filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has agreed to hear oral arguments next month over whether the cases should be consolidated and centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Tasigna (nilotinib) was approved by the FDA in 2007, and is part of a class of medications known as kinase inhibitors, which are prescribed for treatment of Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) among recently diagnosed adults. It is marketed by Novartis for treatment of chronic phase and accelerated phase Ph+ CML in adults who are resistant or intolerant to prior therapy.

While the drug carries a “black box” warning about the risk of QT prolongation, which is a heart rhythm problem that can result in sudden death, Novartis faces product liability lawsuits for failing to adequately warn about the risk of Tasigna blood flow problems, which may lead to atherosclerosis, a stroke, heart attack, amputations or death.

In April, a plaintiff petitioned the JPML to create a Tasigna MDL (multidistrict litigation), which would consolidate all of the claims filed in federal courts nationwide in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois for coordinated discovery and pretrial procedures.

Such centralization is common in complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims are being filed in courts nationwide over similar injuries caused by the same drugs or product defects. Coordinating the cases before one judge is meant to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of common witnesses, parties, and the court.

At the time of the motion, there were at least 18 Tasigna lawsuits pending in 12 different U.S. District Courts, each raising similar claims and allegations. However, as Tasigna injury lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming weeks and months, that number is expected to increase significantly.

On June 16, the JPML issued a Notice of Hearing Session (PDF), which announced the panel will hear oral arguments over Tasigna consolidation on July 29. While the hearing session will be located in the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, the hearing is being conducted via videoconference and teleconference due to the ongoing pandemic.

The panel of federal judges will determine whether it is appropriate to transfer the Tasigna litigation to one judge, and evaluate the most appropriate forum for the management of the litigation.

If an MDL is established, cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide will be transferred to one court for management, and series of early “bellwether” trials designed to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if Tasigna settlements or another resolution is not reached following the MDL proceedings, each individual case may later be returned to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial in the future.

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