August 4, 2017 — Judges have centralized 161 lawsuits involving heartburn drug kidney injuries into one federal court in New Jersey.
The lawsuits will be centralized under Judge Claire C. Cecchi in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, where 60 lawsuits are already pending.
The cases will be transferred to Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2798) — In RE: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation (No. II).
Plaintiffs allege that taking one or more proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), caused them to suffer kidney injuries, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), acute interstitial nephritis, end-stage kidney disease, or kidney failure.
Heartburn medications in the PPI class drugs include:
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Vimovo (naproxen / esomeprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole / sodium bicarbonate)
The defendants are accused of failing to adequately warn of the negative kidney side effects and health risks associated with PPIs.
This is the second time the JPML has considered centralizing lawsuits. In January 2017, centralization was rejected because of the differences among the drugs and the variety of injuries “significantly undermine[d] any efficiency gains to be achieved from centralization.”
AstraZeneca and Pfizer both opposed centralization the first time around. This time, both drug-makers told the JPML they now support centralization because the large number of lawsuits will make informal coordination impractical. After reviewing the record, the JPML agreed.
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