AstraZeneca PLC and two other pharmaceutical companies have come out against a proposal that would centralize all federal kidney injury lawsuits involving proton pump inhibitors in a single U.S. District Court. In court papers filed on November 22nd, the manufacturers of Nexium, Prilosec and Delixant asserted that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) should refuse to grant a plaintiffs’ motion seeking to do so.
Court documents indicate that just over a dozen proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have so far been filed in federal courts on behalf of individuals who developed chronic kidney disease, renal failure and other serious kidney complications allegedly linked to use of the popular heartburn drugs. However, plaintiffs who wish to have these claims centralized in a single federal court assert that the litigation could ultimately include thousands of similar claims. They maintain that centralization will promote judicial efficiency and preserve the resources of the court, parties and witnesses involved in the litigation.
AstraZeneca, which manufactures prescription versions of Prilosec and Nexium, insists that the lawsuits are too broad to allow consolidation.
“This Panel should deny the transfer motion because Movants seek to consolidate cases involving individual plaintiffs who took a wide variety of medications made by a plethora of different manufacturers and allege to have suffered a range of different and distinct injuries,” the response states. “Movants are essentially attempting to draw sprawling Venn diagrams around a commonly occurring category of disease among aging Americans – renal disorders – and one of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications – proton pump inhibitors (‘PPIs’) – and are asking this Panel to create an incalculable, consolidated proceeding involving the entire, unavoidable overlap.”
Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which markets the prescription drugs Prevacid and Delixant, argued that centralization is premature at this stage, and asserted that the existing lawsuits are dominated by factual issues that are not common to all of the cases. The company also urged the Panel to exclude certain medications from any multidistrict litigation, arguing that there are too few filings to warrant their inclusion.
Pfizer, Inc., which markets over-the-counter Nexium 24HR, points out that the current litigation focuses on prescription proton pump inhibitors. Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Prilosec OTC, put forth a similar argument.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP represents plaintiffs pursuing proton pump inhibitor lawsuits for alleged kidney injuries. If you are interested in filing a similar claim, please call (888) 994-8177.