The federal court overseeing hundreds of Nexium lawsuits and other product liability claims involving the alleged link between proton pump inhibitors and serious kidney complications has indicated that it will convene a “Science Day” in the Spring.
According to a Case Management Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, on January 8th, the parties were to meet and confer on the matter ahead of the litigation’s January 12th Status Conference.
Science Day is a fairly typical occurrence in large, complex court proceedings, such as the federal proton pump inhibitor litigation currently underway in New Jersey. These events provide all parties an opportunity to apprise the Court of the scientific and medical issues central to their claims in a non-adversarial manner. Presentations made during Science Day are generally off-the-record and do not include an opportunity for cross examination.
Court documents indicate that more than 520 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits are currently pending in the District of New Jersey, all of which were filed on behalf of individuals who suffered kidney failure and other renal complications allegedly related to their use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid and other drugs in this class.
Proton pump inhibitors – which are available either by prescription or over-the-counter – are one of the most popular heartburn drug classes in the world. In fact, more than 15 million Americans used one of the medications in 2013 to relieve symptoms associated with GERD and other peptic disorders. Despite their popularity, however, proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a variety of serious side effects, especially when used for extended periods of time. These include increased risks for bone fractures, heart attacks, dementia, vitamin B deficiency, and low magnesium.
A growing number of studies have also suggested that long-term proton pump inhibitor use may increase a patient’s risk for severe kidney problems, including:
Most recently, for example, a meta-analysis presented in November at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) annual conference suggested that patients taking proton pump inhibitors were 3-times more likely to develop kidney failure or chronic kidney disease compared to non-users.
Plaintiffs who have filed Nexium lawsuits and other proton pump inhibitor claims charge that the drugs’ manufacturers have long been aware of evidence linking their products to serious kidney injuries, but failed to warn doctors and patients of these risks. They further allege that they could have avoided these kidney side effects had proper warnings been provided.