Pharmaceutical creator AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP has begun the removal process for the many lawsuits filed regarding its prescription and over-the-counter drug Omeprazole (Prilosec). The cases are being removed from many jurisdictions but are being consolidated into the Southern District of Ohio.
The pleadings explain the relevant facts as follows: Prilosec, at its prescription and over-the-counter strength, typically is used to treat certain stomach and esophageal problems, including heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough. These particular conditions can lead to damage to the stomach and esophagus, ulcers, and possibly cancer of the esophagus. Prilosec accomplishes this via a proton pump inhibitor, which prevents the creation of acid in the stomach and reduces the damage that this acid produces. However, the same physiological function that reduces the amount of acid created also allegedly creates kidney complications, such as acute interstitial nephritis and end-stage renal disease.
The plaintiffs in these suits claimed they were prescribed varying doses of Prilosec in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2020s. While each suit is specific to the facts for the corresponding plaintiff, the suits hold the common thread that each of the plaintiffs asserted they were prescribed a long-term, large dose of the drug, resulting in proffered kidney ailments and leading up to failure.
The plaintiffs are suing under theories of strict liability and negligence, stating that Astrazeneca and its subsidiaries manufactured and distributed the drug without adequate testing, concealed clinical data regarding side effects, failed to warn as to efficacy and toxicity of the product and failed to disclose alternative treatments, among other negligent acts. Plaintiffs are represented by various firms.
The defendant is represented by Ice Miller LLP.
While AstraZeneca has removed many cases to Ohio, a multidistrict litigation based in New Jersey is also proceeding.