Plaintiffs pursuing lawsuits against Gilead Sciences, Inc. over toxic side effects allegedly caused by Truvada and similar HIV drugs want their cases centralized in a single federal court.
According to a petition filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on December 19th, Gilead currently faces five complaints involving TDF HIV anti-viral drugs. Roughly 150 plaintiffs are involved in the cases.
“All plaintiffs allege that Gilead intentionally designed its TDF drugs to be unreasonably and unnecessarily toxic to patients’ kidneys and bones, while it purposefully withheld a safer design of the drugs for more than a decade in order to make more money,” the petition states. “All plaintiffs also challenge the inadequate warnings Gilead gave to physicians and consumers about the risks and safe use of the TDF drugs.”
Because Truvada lawsuits and other TDF claims put forth similar allegations, the petition asserts that centralization in a single federal jurisdiction would allow for efficient discovery and motions practice, preserve judicial resources, and reduce the potential for inconsistent pretrial rulings.
Finally, the plaintiffs argue that the Northern District of California is the most appropriate jurisdiction for the proposed multidistrict litigation, as it is home to Gilead’s headquarters. Among other things, the petition also points out that the majority of plaintiffs’ have filed in the Northern District of California and maintains that the location would facilitate coordination between federal claims and state actions pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Viread, Gilead’s first TDF-based HIV anti-viral drug, won U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2001. Since then, the company has brought several other TDF medications to market, including:
In 2012, Truvada became the first TDF medication approved by the FDA for PrEP.
If the JPML agrees to centralize these cases, all federally-filed TDF HIV anti-viral drug lawsuits will be transferred to a single judge in the Northern District of California for coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings. In addition, any such cases filed in the future will be eligible for transfer to the proposed multidistrict litigation.
In most multidistrict litigations, the court will choose a small number of representative cases for early bellwether trials. Verdicts in these trials often provide insight into how other juries might rule in similar lawsuits, and sometimes pave the way for a global settlement of all cases pending in the proceeding.
When a global settlement is not possible, however, any lawsuit not resolved in the course of the multidistrict litigation are returned to its original court of filing for trial.