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December 11, 2020

Cast Update: Nexium, Prilosec, and other PPI Drug Cases Selected for Pretrial Discovery

Nine PPI Heartburn Drug Injury Cases Chosen to Undergo Discovery for 2021 Trials

Increasing lawsuits across the country claim proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs like Nexium and Prilosec increase users’ risks of serious side effects. Now, with thousands of cases pending in a massive multidistrict litigation (MDL), a new case order indicates nine of these PPI drug injury claims have been chosen to undergo case-specific discovery in preparation to be selected for early trial dates in 2021.

Manufacturers of PPI drugs face over 13,000 in the federal court system over the dangerous side effects of these heartburn medications. Claims from across the nation indicate manufacturers of heartburn medications like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Dexilant, and Protonix, among others, failed to warn consumers about the health risks associated with their products.

According to reports, PPI drugs can increase users’ risk of developing injuries like chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, end-stage renal failure, and other complications linked to the medications. The FDA issued warnings about the risk of kidney injury for the first time in 2014, saying that PPI drugs could increase the risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), a type of kidney damage. Since then, more studies have come out with additional data showing PPI heartburn drugs can increase the risk of kidney disease, failure, and injury.

Due to the numerous, similar complaints, all federal PPI drug cases were consolidated as part of an MDL centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. U. S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi presides over the coordination, discovery, and pretrial proceedings of these cases, and established a “bellwether” trial period to work towards the resolution of the litigation.

As part of the bellwether process, a group of PPI heartburn drug cases was selected to undergo early discovery and trial dates. These trials, while not binding on the outcome of other cases, will be closely watched to see how juries will respond to certain testimony and evidence repeated during the trials.

On December 4, Judge Cecchi announced the selection of nine cases for bellwether discovery in a case order, indicating the deadline for core discovery as January 21, 2021. Of these nine trials, six will be selected for 2021 trial dates.

“The parties shall meet and confer regarding additional Core Discovery if they believe such discovery is needed beyond this date, so long as the additional discovery does not delay the selection of the final six (6) Bellwether Trial Cases, and recognizing that additional discovery is permitted in the final six (6) Bellwether Trial Cases,” Judge Cecchi stated. “The parties will raise any disputed issues with the Court as the need may arise.”

Experts indicate that if a settlement is unable to be reached by the end of the bellwether trials, individual PPI drug injury cases may be remanded back to the U.S. District Courts they were originally filed in for future trial dates.

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