Attorneys representing the parties in thousands of lawsuits involving Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, and other proton pump inhibitors are at odd over whether a federal litigation should include claims for gastric cancer.
The multidistrict litigation is currently underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, and includes more than 12,000 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits. While the majority blame the popular heart burn drugs for causing kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, and other renal complications, more than a dozen plaintiffs have filed claims for gastrointestinal cancers.
On June 12, defendants in proton pump inhibitor lawsuits asked the court to remove all cancer claims from the multidistrict litigation and bar any such future filings. In doing so, they argue that the litigation was only ever intended to handle pretrial proceedings for kidney injury lawsuits.
“The gastric cancer cases involve different allegations, different injuries and an alleged failure to warn of injuries that differ from the cases previously transferred by the Panel to the MDL, and for which this MDL was created,” the letter states. “They will thus involve different discovery, different portions of the labeling, different science and different expert testimony as well as different Daubert motion practice, from the other actions transferred to this MDL.”
Proton pump inhibitors are indicated for the short-term treatment of GERD and other gastric disorders caused by excess stomach acid. By some estimates, more than 13 million Americans take prescription proton pump inhibitors every year. It’s likely that even more turn to Nexium 24HR and other over-the-counter versions.
According to some recent research, many people take proton pump inhibitors far longer than what is recommended, or use the drugs for inappropriate indications. Other studies have linked long-term use to a range of serious side effects, including kidney complications, gastric cancers, heart attacks, certain bone fractures, dementia, vitamin B12 deficiency, and low magnesium levels.
Plaintiffs pursuing proton pump inhibitors lawsuits assert that the drug’s manufacturers were aware of the drugs’ potential to harm the kidneys or cause gastric cancer. Yet rather than warn the public, they continued to promote the medications as safe and effective remedies for heart burn.