October 6, 2015 — With at least 1,046 federal Benicar lawsuits pending against Daiichi Sankyo, the judge overseeing the litigation wants the first trials in late 2016, according to the New Jersey Law Journal.
In a hearing on September 30, U.S. District Judge Joel Schneider asked drug-makers to produce documents showing adverse events involving Benicar.
Judge Schneider also requested documents showing Daiichi was complying with a $39 million settlement involving violations of the False Claims Act, according to lead plaintiffs’ counsel.
The size of the litigation has grown rapidly since 70 lawsuits were centralized in June 2015. The lawsuits have been centralized in MDL No. 2606 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Dozens more cases are pending at the state level in Atlantic County under Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson.
Plaintiffs allege that treatment with Benicar and other blood-pressure drugs containing olmesartan (Azor, Tribenzor) caused a rare gastrointestinal disease known as sprue-like enteropathy.
The FDA issued a warning about the risk in July 2013 after identifying 23 reports of the side effect.
Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, severe weight-loss, and intestinal damage that may cause permanent problems with malnutrition. In some cases, victims were suffering 10-20 bouts of diarrhea per day and they were misdiagnosed with Celiac disease because doctors were not aware of the link between Benicar and enteropathy.
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