The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to centralize all kidney injury lawsuits involving a class of heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) before a single judge in Atlantic Superior Court.
Plaintiffs had requested Multicounty Litigation status for all PPI heartburn drug lawsuits filed in New Jersey state courts last July. While the new proceeding in Atlantic Counyt only includes 39 cases filed against the manufacturers of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid and other medications in this class, approximately 13,500 similar claims are also pending in a federal multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
Hundreds of additional PPI heartburn drug lawsuits have been filed in state courts around the country.
Proton pump inhibitors are among the most popular drugs in the world, as millions rely on prescription versions and their OTC counterparts to relieve heart burn symptoms associated with GERD and other digestive ailments. However, 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 PPI heartburn drugs for long periods may face serious health consequences, including an increased risk of heart attacks, dementia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, bone fractures, and more. In fact, the current litigations underway in New Jersey and elsewhere were largely driven by a growing body of research suggesting extended use of proton pump inhibitors can lead to chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, acute kidney injury, and acute interstitial nephritis, among other renal complications
Labeling for Nexium and other PPI heartburn drugs was updated with mention of acute interstitial nephritis in December 2014. However, the labels still lack any warnings for other possible kidney risks.
Plaintiffs who have filed PPI heartburn drug lawsuits claim that manufacturers were actually aware of data suggesting Nexium and similar medications could harm the kidneys decades ago, but intentionally withheld this information from the public. They further assert that they would never have taken proton pump inhibitors had defendants provided adequate warnings regarding their risks.