The JPML will consider oral arguments on the motion during an upcoming hearing session scheduled for November 30, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri and may rule before the end of the year. Particularly because most Onglyza lawsuits are still in the early stages of litigation, consolidation could be a very good thing for plaintiffs.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Onglyza for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in 2009. Subsequent FDA reviews, however, suggested the need for additional investigation of a possible link between the medication and an increased incidence of heart failure. Thereafter the drug manufacturers, AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, were required to amend the warning label to include information about the potential for cardiac problems.
The Transfer Motion argues that Onglyza lawsuits share many questions of fact and law, including whether Onglyza was marketed with an inadequate label; whether the defendant drug manufacturers conducted inadequate testing of Onglyza; and whether they failed to warn about the increased risk of heart failure, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrest and death.
MDL status can be an advantage for plaintiffs who are litigating very similar cases in different jurisdictions. It may streamline discovery and ensure greater consistency in pretrial rulings thus saving time and cost. A transferee court may also be more favorably inclined to a plaintiff’s argument than the home district.