In July 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) met to decide whether to consolidate in one court all proton pump inhibitor (PPI) cases filed in federal courts across the country. On Aug. 2, 2017, the Panel decided that consolidation would promote the just and efficient administration of the cases and assigned the consolidated litigation to Judge Claire C. Cecchi in the District of New Jersey. The Order consolidates all cases currently filed in the federal courts involving claims of kidney injury resulting from ingestion of PPIs.
PPIs are indicated for the short-term treatment of gastrointestinal reflux disease and gastric ulcers, but have been heavily marketed as long-term, daily treatment of more common conditions such as acid reflux. PPIs have been widely available for more than 20 years and are now marketed as prescription, over-the-counter, and generic varieties. The PPI MDL will include claims against all PPI manufacturers, including Pfizer (Nexium OTC), Takeda (Prevacid), AstraZeneca (Prilosec), Proctor & Gamble (Prilosec OTC), and Novartis (Prevacid OTC).
Decades of studies and reports expose the serious risks of PPIs causing acute kidney injuries, specifically acute interstitial nephritis (AIN). Finally, in October 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required a warning regarding AIN on all prescription PPIs but, to date, no such warning is included in the over-the-counter product labeling. More recent medical studies support that PPIs can cause chronic kidney disease in the absence of an acute event. However, there is no information in the product warning label regarding the risk of chronic kidney disease developing following prolonged exposure to PPIs.
Plaintiffs in the litigation had originally petitioned the JPML for MDL consolidation in 2016, but the petition was rejected by the JPML in January 2017 after the various Defendant manufacturers opposed centralization citing the complexity of consolidating numerous manufacturing Defendants into one case (including citing concerns over disclosure of trade secrets). Given the Defendants’ objections and the relatively few cases pending at that time, the JPML agreed with the Defendant manufacturers that formal consolidation was unnecessary. However, since then, a large number of PPI cases have been filed in federal district courts across the country. Facing the prospect of litigating multiple cases in multiple locations, all of the manufacturing Defendants except Takeda joined in the Plaintiffs’ most recent JPML petition requesting the creation of the PPI MDL.
Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently investigating PPI-related acute kidney injuries. If you would like for us to review your potential claim, you can contact Roger Smith or Liz Eiland, lawyers in the Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Roger.Smith@beasleyallen.com or Liz.Eiland@beasleyallen.com.