The federal court overseeing hundreds of proton pump inhibitor lawsuits involving serious kidney problems allegedly related to the use of Nexium and similar heartburn drugs has set the date for Science Day.
According to a Case Management Order issued on January 30th, in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, Science Day will take place on May 16, 2018. The Order further directs the parties to be prepared to discuss the parameters of their Science Day presentations during the litigation’s next Status Conference, which is schedule for February 22nd at 1:00 p.m.
Science Days are frequently convened in large, complex litigations. The events provide the parties with an opportunity to apprise the Court of the scientific and medical issues central to their claims in an off-the-record and non-adversarial manner.
The federal proton pump inhibitor litigation was centralized in New Jersey last August, after the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) determine that the growing number of kidney injury claims filed against the manufacturers of Nexium, Prilosec, and PrevAcid, among others, would benefit from coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Initially, just 160 cases were transferred to the multidistrict litigation. 522 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits were pending in the proceeding as of January 16th.
Proton pump inhibitors rank among the most popular drug classes in the world. In 2013, more than 15 million Americans were prescribed a drug like Nexium to relieve symptoms associated with GERD and other digestive disorders related to the excess production of stomach acid. Millions more use over-the-counter brands, including Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC and PrevAcid 24 – often without a doctor’s supervision.
Because proton pump inhibitors have become so commonplace, few people ever give much thought to their potential side effects. Unfortunately, a growing body of research has linked the drugs – especially long-term use – to a wide range of serious complications, including bone fractures, heart attacks, dementia, vitamin B deficiency, and low magnesium levels.
Plaintiffs with cases pending in the federal proton pump inhibitor litigation accuse the drugs’ makers of concealing their potentially life-threatening kidney side effects, including:
Among other things, plaintiffs claim that proton pump inhibitor manufacturers have received hundreds of reports linking their products to kidney damage and point to numerous studies suggesting that long-term use of the drugs can significantly increase a patient’s risk for kidney failure and other serious renal complications.
In December 2014, the labels for prescription proton pump inhibitors were updated to note acute interstitial nephritis as a possible side effect. However, the medications’ prescribing information includes no other mention of kidney complications.