Hurricane of PPI Lawsuits Forecasted: Are you Prepared?

 
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Defective Drugs
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Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) caught the attention of many lawyers across the country when several leading publications released study and research works, highlighting the possible link between the long-term use of PPIs and Chronic Kidney disease (CKD). Then the FDA required PPI labels to be updated with safety warnings for many conditions but did not mention anything about the risk of serious kidney injury. Since PPIs are so widely used, and it was common for users to be on them for long periods of time, lawyers believed that there was the potential for a significant mass tort.

Widespread consumer awareness generated through many channels, including advertising campaigns by mass tort law firms to attract potential clients, encouraged many PPI users who took drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix and later suffered from serious injuries like CKD or kidney disease to seek legal advice and file a PPI lawsuit. The commercials also informed many who didn’t know that there was a connection between their heartburn medication and kidney failure. This made thousands wonder if they were among the many Americans entitled to compensation, and convincing them to approach a PPI injury lawyer to figure out for sure if they had a valid claim.

The numbers grew as anticipated, until finally in August 2017, upon a second request, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation approved the formation of multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2789, involving claims of kidney injury resulting from ingestion of PPIs. It was approved for the ease of coordinated pre-trial proceedings. Judge Claire C. Cecchi was appointed to preside over the lawsuits in the U.S. District for New Jersey.

Multiple defendants are named in this litigation: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Procter & Gamble Co., McKesson Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Pfizer Inc. and Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth, all dodging allegations that mainly involve withholding important safety warnings.

Important Facts You Should Know

With more than 522 cases filed against the PPI makers, the MDL is in the discovery stage and is burgeoning, an indication for law firms to be prepared. Case management orders have been released by the federal court notifying those concerned about plaintiff fact sheets filling and submission details, requiring the PFS to be “substantially complete in all respects,” among other things.

Are you asking the Right Questions?

Questions covered during the intake process play a very important role in deciding whether the claim is strong enough to be included in the MDL. Owing to the complex nature of the PPI litigation and managing the inflow of clients with the workload, most lawyers are left with very little time to prep. For PPI clients, questions asked during the client intake stage should be generate convincing response to allow you to judge whether the client suffered any of the following serious alleged injuries linked to PPI:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Nephritis renal impairment
  • Bone deterioration
  • Dementia/seizures
  • Tetany or muscle spasm
  • Infections
  • Arrhythmia and heart problems
  • Low magnesium level

PPI Medical Record Review

The fate of the case ultimately lies in the hands of lawyers. Half the battle is won if you have evidence that shows the usage of the drug in the pharmacy records, duration of usage, indication of usage in medical and pharmacy records, and occurrence of complications, if any, and the treatment details after intake.

Since the PPI litigation is complex, it can be helpful for attorneys to retain the services of expert medical record reviewers who have the correct acumen to review the case, the proficiency to identify and correctly link the injury to the usage of the drug from stacks of medical and pharmacy records, and a keen eye to identify the missing records and request them further to complete the review.

For PPIs, a good medical review with chronologically arranged events is invaluable due to the long-term use, as it would highlight timelines of events that focus on the specific allegations or potential areas of liability.

Important Facts

What stands as an undeniable truth is that the manufacturers received case reports of kidney injuries as early as 2004 but failed to take meaningful action to protect the public. The labels are yet not updated and still carry insufficient warnings endangering the lives of millions of PPI users. The risk of kidney injuries from these drugs poses a serious and widespread threat to public health.

Already, hundreds of patients have filed lawsuits against the makers of these drugs, thousands of cases are still being reviewed across the country to meet the federal court deadlines, and there are many still unaware.

Are you prepared?

This article was submitted by Neural IT. Neural IT provides cost-effective and timely medical reviews for personal injury, medical malpractice, and mass tort cases. For more information, please visit www.neuralit.com. Email us at [email protected] or call +1-844-NIT-TEAM (648-8326) to learn more about our free trial.

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