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Left Behind in Benicar Lawsuit Settlement

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Camden, NJDaiichi Sankyo’s recent $300 million Benicar lawsuit settlement will end the story for some who were hurt by the blood pressure drug. But it will leave others out in the cold.

What will happen to them, the people who still suffer from Benicar side-effects -- the vomiting, weight-loss and diarrhea of sprue-like enteropathy?

Benicar lawsuits began to appear in early 2014, less than a year after the FDA required label changes to warn about severe gastrointestinal side-effects. Eventually, more than 2,200 lawsuits were consolidated into In Re: Benicar (Olmesartan) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2606. On August 1, 2017, in the US District Court of New Jersey, Daiichi-Sankyo offered to settle all filed claims involving Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor.  Plaintiffs, the people who had been injured by their meds, had until August 23 to opt into the settlement. To do that, they had to either sue Daiichi Sanyo or hire a lawyer to sue them. The settlement will take about a year.

Count on some plaintiffs to have blown the deadline, especially on three weeks’ notice. Others will discover that they were never eligible to participate in the first place. The Master Settlement Agreement slices and dices very fine, requiring that potential plaintiffs must have used the medication for at least 30 days prior to May 1, 2015. They must also document from one of six levels of “Eligible Injury” as set forth in Appendix J.

Still, others will be ineligible because their injuries are linked to Olmetec. This drug is chemically similar to Benicar, also linked to gastrointestinal side-effects, but marketed only in Canada and not covered by the settlement agreement.

Others will fail, somehow, in the application process. The Master Settlement Agreement, which sets out the requirements for making a claim, is 71 pages long. It has ten Appendices. Plaintiffs must provide and authorize the review of years of medical and prescription records, release the defendants from any legal liability, and agree to dismiss any pending lawsuits. The claims are to be reviewed by a Claims Administrator selected by a plaintiff’s negotiating committee and defendants. A lot of things can go wrong here. Lawyers who handle insurance disability insurance claims against giant insurance companies may feel a sense of déjà vu.

What recourse do the other plaintiffs have? Some law firms are simply walking away from the business, declaring that they will no longer review Benicar claims. Others are hanging in. What is certain is that many of those injured by the Benicar and other high blood pressure drugs will continue to need legal representation in the future.

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READER COMMENTS

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I’ve been taking Benicar for several years now, this is my first time hearing about the lawsuit. If someone could please contact me with information or the criteria regarding this lawsuit. Thank you

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