Levaquin lawsuit plaintiffs and others who allegedly developed peripheral neuropathy due to their use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics have asked a Pennsylvania judge to centralize their claims in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In a petition filed last month, the plaintiffs contend that the establishment of a mass tort program for these cases will streamline the discovery process and avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings.
According to the petition, at least 30 lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of patients who were allegedly stricken with peripheral neuropathy following treatment with Levaquin or another fluoroquinolone antibiotic. However, the document asserts that attorneys are preparing to file an additional 30 cases, and that more lawsuits are likely in the future.
“In light of the numerous common issues and questions of fact involved in these cases, the handling and disposition of these cases through the mass tort program will benefit the parties and witnesses, while serving to promote the efficient prosecution and resolution of these related actions,” the petition said.
Fluoroquinolones include the name brand drugs Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox. The powerful antibiotics are used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including respiratory, sinus and urinary tract infections. Since 2004, peripheral neuropathy, a serious type of nerve damage, has been listed on fluoroquinolone labels as a possible side effect. However, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that stronger warnings about the potential for this disorder be added to the labels in 2013. Among other things, the agency required the removal of a statement that characterized nerve damage as rare.
Plaintiffs who have filed Levaquin lawsuits and other fluoroquinolone claims allege that the drug’s manufacturers failed to provide doctors and patients with adequate warning regarding the potential for peripheral neuropathy. The various defendants face charges of negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation and fraud.
The filing of this petition comes as more than 200 similar peripheral neuropathy lawsuits involving Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro move forward in a multidistrict litigation established earlier this year in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. That litigation is expected to convene its initial status conference next month.