Since the late 1980’s, Physicians have prescribed proton pump inhibitors (“PPIs”) to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”) and other conditions involving excess stomach acid. By 2019, PPI’s had been prescribed to more than 15 million Americans; and an unknown quantity of over-the-counter (“OTC”) PPIs were in use.
During the period in which PPIs have been sold in the United States, hundreds of reports of various injuries have been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) in association with ingestion of PPIs such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and others. In recent years, pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck & Co., Inc., The Proctor & Gamble Company, and Takeda have been named as Defendants in nearly 14,000 product liability complaints.
Complaints uniformly allege that “users and prescribing physicians were not adequately warned” that the widely used heartburn medications could increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, kidney failure, and other side effects. Given “common questions of fact and law” raised in Complaints brought throughout the Federal Court system, coordinated pretrial proceedings were established before New Jersey District Judge Claire C. Cecchi as part of a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”). The first trial in the MDL is scheduled to commence November 15, 2021.
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Active inflammation occurs with chronic use of PPIs. This illustration shows the contrast of Interstitial fibrosis and nephritis. Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is a renal lesion that causes a decline in renal function and is characterized by an inflammatory infiltrate in the kidney interstitium.
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