The federal court overseeing hundreds of peripheral neuropathy lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox convened its most recent Status Conference on January 18th.
According to the litigation’s website, 289 antibiotics lawsuits remain pending against Bayer (the manufacturer of Cipro and Avelox) in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where the centralized litigation is currently underway.
Written discovery is almost complete. The parties were scheduled to take the remaining two Bayer A.G. depositions on February 2nd and February 8th. Several treater depositions remained to be taken as of January 18th, while five remaining sales rep depositions had been scheduled.
The selection pool for bellwether trial cases is now down to seven – one Cipro lawsuit and six Avelox lawsuits.
As reported previously, the Avelox cases will begin going to trial in November 2018. The single Cipro lawsuit will head to trial in March 2019.
The litigation’s next Status Conference will be convened on March 1, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox are indicated to treat pneumonia and other serious bacterial infections. However, these drugs are also frequently prescribed for more routine illnesses, including ear infections and urinary tract infections, despite their association with peripheral neuropathy and other potentially permanent and debilitating side effects.
Plaintiffs who have filed peripheral neuropathy lawsuits involving these drugs claim that their manufacturers failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about this potential risk and assert that the association was known as early as 2001. Plaintiffs further contend that they could have avoided their injuries had they been provided with better peripheral neuropathy warnings.
The labels for fluoroquinolone antibiotics were initially updated to note peripheral neuropathy as a potential side effect in December 2004. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered further modifications in August 2013, after a review determined that the prescribing information did not adequately describe the “potential rapid onset and permanence” of peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Among other things, wording that characterized often-debilitating nerve disorder as a “rare” occurrence was removed.
In May 2016, the FDA warned that systemic fluoroquinolones (those administered orally or via injection) should not be used to treat patients suffering from certain uncomplicated infections when other treatment options are available. The warning followed an agency review which linked antibiotics like Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox to permanent and potentially disabling complications affecting the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system.
The FDA also ordered fluoroquinolone manufacturers to highlight this new safety information in a black box – the strictest form of label warning.