Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid are drugs used in the treatment of acid reflux or heartburn. Plaintiffs have filed lawsuits alleging that these medications caused kidney injuries and have filed a motion to consolidate 172 pending federal lawsuits to a multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL is frequently created to streamline a procedure by combining cases with similar complaints to be tried in one court before one judge. This lowers court costs, allows for a faster outcome, and is typically more efficient.
In each of the lawsuits against the drug manufacturers including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Wyeth, among others, the plaintiffs allege that the drug companies failed to sufficiently warn that ingestion of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) PPIs could cause “irreparable harm” to the kidneys, according to court documents.
The 172 pending PPI lawsuits are currently filed in 30 different federal courts in 21 states. The motion to consolidate was filed on May 31, 2017 with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) under U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi, District of New Jersey, who is already overseeing 62 of the 172 cases.
“The scattered nature of the Actions across the country does not serve either the parties’ or judicial efficiency interests, and will inevitably lead to disparate decisions and outcomes,” according to the motion. An earlier attempt to centralize PPI lawsuits with comparable issues of fact failed due to the small number of lawsuits (15), differing heartburn medications involved, and concerns revolving around protecting trade secrets among defendants.
“Although the Panel previously denied centralization of proton-pump inhibitor cases upon motion by another firm, there have been significant developments in the PPI cases filed since the Panel’s decision that warrant a second look at consolidation,” the motion argues.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have extensive experience representing clients in drug injury lawsuits. Our lawyers are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been injured by pharmaceuticals, including Nexium, Prevacid, and other PPIs.
How PPIs Work
Many Americans suffer from acid reflux and use PPIs to relieve the discomfort of heartburn and similar ailments such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). PPIs reduce acid production by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid that may cause ulcers in the stomach, esophagus, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach). Recent studies have shown an association with prescription and OTC proton pump inhibitors with kidney disease and kidney failure.
Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec can have severe side effects, reports the New York Times. They “are not the benign drugs the public thinks they are,” according to Dr. Shoshana J. Herzig of Harvard Medical School.
The occasional taking of antacids like Rolaids, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, or milk of magnesia to treat heartburn is unlikely to have adverse effects, says the Times. “People with conditions like Barrett’s esophagus should be on long-term acid suppression,” says Dr. Herzig. But most people with acid reflux and heartburn should not be on PPIs long-term, according to Dr. Herzig.
Studies Involving PPIs and Kidney Problems
In February 2016, a study was published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine that revealed that the use of PPIs was linked to a higher risk of chronic kidney disease.
The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published another study in 2016, that found that patients who used PPIs for more than 30 days had a higher risk of renal (kidney) outcomes, including kidney disease or kidney failure, compared with individuals who took a PPI for 30 days or less.
Another Application for an MDL
Another application filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to create an MDL in the District of New Jersey or alternatively, the Southern District of Illinois for the PPI cases alleging that, as a result of taking a PPI as prescribed by a doctor or recommended by a healthcare professional, plaintiffs have experienced kidney injuries. These injures include acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), chronic kidney disease (CKD), and renal failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Seven products manufactured by five defendant groups are involved in these suits: four of these are prescription drugs including Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, and Dexilant. Three other OTC drugs include Prilosec OTC, Prevacid 24-Hour, and Nexium 24-Hour.
Legal Information and Advice for PPI Users
If you or someone you know suffered adverse side effects involving the use of Nexium, Prilosec, or other PPIs, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP personal injury lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact our attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).