Thousands of new claimants could soon file kidney injury lawsuits against the manufacturers of Nexium and similar proton pump inhibitors if the tolling agreement governing their claims is not extended next month.
The federal multidistrict litigation underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey already houses more than 2,700 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits. All of the cases involve plaintiffs who allegedly developed kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, or other renal injuries due to the long-term use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Protonix, and Dexilant.
Last year, the drugs’ manufacturers entered into a tolling agreement that allowed prospective claimants to delay their filings pending a review of their case. Basically, this agreement extended the statute of limitations governing each potential proton pump inhibitor lawsuit. Instead, the Court required future plaintiffs to submit limited information, including the drugs taken and the nature of injuries.
According to a Joint Status Report filed in New Jersey on December 19th, around 16,000 people have submitted claims under the agreement. If it expires, plaintiffs who intend to file in the federal litigation must do so by January 31, 2019.
The status of the agreement will be addressed today, during the Court’s monthly status conference.
Other items on the Court’s agenda include:
Proton pump inhibitors are among the most popular drugs in the world. In fact, millions rely on prescription versions and their OTC counterparts to relieve heart burn symptoms.
This popularity, however, suggests proton pump inhibitors are overused. What’s more, recent studies suggest up to 75% of patients take the drugs for inappropriate indications or for far longer than what is currently recommended.
Unfortunately, people who use proton pump inhibitor for long periods may face serious health consequences, including an increased risk of heart attacks, dementia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, bone fractures, and more.
As a matter of fact, the current litigation was driven by mounting research showing extended use can harm the kidneys. Renal complications allegedly caused by proton pump inhibitors include chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, acute kidney injury, and acute interstitial nephritis.
Proton pump inhibitor labels were updated with information on acute interstitial nephritis in December 2014. However, the labeling does not mention any other possible kidney risks.