For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Nexium Lawsuits Alleging Kidney Problems Number Over 13,500

pills and bottle

There are now at least 13,269 product liability lawsuits filed with regard to Nexium and other popular heartburn medications, according to a status report released by a federal court on August 5, 2019. Those complaints are pending in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) created to streamline pretrial procedures. Other cases are pending around the country in lesser courts, including 68 lawsuits in Illinois in the Cook County Circuit Court, 47 cases in New Jersey, 22 in Ohio, and one in New York. The lawsuits allege that patients who used the heartburn medications were diagnosed with severe kidney damage as a result.

About Nexium and other heartburn drugs

The drugs at the heart of these lawsuits are Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, and Prevacid. Each of these is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). When PPIs were introduced, they quickly outpaced H2 blockers as the most popular class of medication used to treat symptoms of heartburn. They work by reducing levels of stomach acid, which helps to suppress symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While these heartburn drugs may be effective for some patients, they are also associated with a risk of serious complications. The plaintiffs claim the drugs have caused everything from an increased risk of bone fractures to heart damage to stroke. They are also linked to kidney problems, including life-threatening renal failure and acute kidney injuries.

The allegations of the MDL plaintiffs

The proton pump inhibitor lawsuits claim that the manufacturers failed to issue adequate warnings over the risk of serious complications. In the case of AstraZeneca, which manufactures Prilosec, the plaintiffs claim that the company knew of the risk of kidney damage at least as early as 2004. However, AstraZeneca waited 10 years to issue warnings to patients.

In addition to the allegation of failure to warn, the plaintiffs seek compensation for the drugs’ allegedly defective design. They claim that the drugs are inherently flawed.

The status of the multidistrict litigation and next steps

The federal lawsuits filed with regard to popular heartburn medications have been consolidated into an MDL that is pending in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey. U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi is presiding over the legal proceeding. According to the recent status report, the recent topics being discussed include the plan to select the bellwether cases and to extend deadlines related to the bellwether situation.

In any MDL, the consolidated cases share pretrial proceedings, including the discovery process, which is the exchange of information and documents among parties before the trial. Expert witnesses are also deposed during the pretrial proceedings. The purpose of consolidating these matters is to streamline litigation, conserve resources, and avoid contradictory rulings and duplicative discovery across jurisdictions.

Following this process, a series of bellwether cases will be selected for early trial dates. These serve to allow the involved parties to assess how juries would typically respond to physical evidence and testimony. When the Nexium bellwether trials are resolved, the results of the trials are not binding upon any other case pending in the MDL. It’s expected that the parties will conduct settlement negotiations, which may resolve the remaining cases.

Any Nexium lawsuits that are not settled will be remanded back to their home districts for individual trials.

Additional resources: