October 12, 2015 — For the second time in less than a year, federal judges have decided not to centralize dozens of lawsuits involving withdrawal side effects of Cymbalta.
Back in August 2014, plaintiffs asked the Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation (JPML) to centralize 28 lawsuits in California. Four months later, the JPML denied the motion because there were not enough cases.
In July 2015, plaintiffs filed a second motion to centralize the litigation in Indiana, where Eli Lilly is headquartered. In both cases, Eli Lilly opposed centralization.
Despite the fact that over 250 plaintiffs have now joined the litigation, the JPML found no “significant change in circumstances” that would justify consolidating the lawsuits into one federal court.
The judges also found significant progress in discovery proceedings. Several cases have gone to trial and established a significant discovery record for plaintiffs. In August, a jury in California found that Eli Lilly did not mislabel Cymbalta or fail to warn about withdrawal.
A motion (PDF) denying centralization was filed on October 9. The decision means the litigation will proceed individually in various district courts. Because only four law firms represent plaintiffs, the JPML said it would still be practical to coordinate and cooperate informally.
Eli Lilly & Co. is accused of downplaying the risk of withdrawal from Cymbalta and failing to provide adequate information to patients and their doctors. The label on Cymbalta warns that “greater than or equal to 1%” of patients experience withdrawal. However, studies show that nearly 50% of patients experience withdrawal and 10% of those cases are severe.
Symptoms of withdrawal from Cymbalta may include:
- “Brain zaps”
- Memory lapses
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased anxiety
- Stomach cramping