Parties to Proton Pump Inhibitor Kidney Lawsuits Submit Joint Status Report Ahead of September 12th Conference

Published on September 11, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

The parties to hundreds of kidney injury lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid and other proton pump inhibitors have submitted a Joint Status Report and Proposed Agenda ahead of the proceeding’s initial conference, which is scheduled to be convened tomorrow in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.

According to the September 8th filing, 227 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits are now pending in the District of New Jersey. Another 130 cases have been filed in Delaware Superior Court, while a single action involving 28 plaintiffs is pending in Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis. A related case involving four plaintiffs is also pending in Illinois’ St. Clair County Circuit Court.

The parties’ proposed agenda indicates that tomorrow’s conference will address multiple issues, including the status of discovery, a suggested schedule for proceedings, Science Day, and the scheduling of periodic status conferences, among other things.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Kidney Claims

All of the cases pending in the District of New Jersey where filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed serious kidney complications due to long-term treatment with Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Dexilant, and Protonix, as well as over-the-counter Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC, and PrevAcid 24HR.

Plaintiffs claim that the manufacturers of these drugs have long been aware of studies and reports linking their long-term use to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, acute interstitial nephritis, and acute kidney injury. They further accuse defendants of failing to provide patients and doctors with appropriate warnings about these risks.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally-filed proton pump inhibitors lawsuits last month, in order to improve judicial efficiency, eliminate duplicative discovery, and prevent inconsistent rulings on pretrial motions.

Proton pump inhibitors are indicated for the short-term treatment of GERD and other peptic disorders related to the excess production of gastric acid. Though millions use these medications every year to control heartburn symptoms, it has been estimated that between 25% and 70% of these prescriptions have no appropriate indication.

In the past several years, a growing body of research has suggested patients who take proton pump inhibitors for an extended period of time may face an increased risk of serious kidney complications. These studies include:

  • A paper published by CMAJ Open in April 2015 that linked proton pump inhibitors to a 3-fold increase in the risk for acute interstitial nephritis, as well as a 2.5 times higher risk of acute kidney injury.
  • Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016 which suggested that proton pump inhibitors might increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 50%.
  • A paper appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in April 2016 that reported that long-term users of proton pump inhibitors may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease compared to patients using H2-blockers.

While proton pump inhibitor labels were updated in late 2014 to include mention of acute interstitial nephritis as a possible side effect, the labels do not list any other possible kidney risks.

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