According to court documents, as of September 15, 2015, 1,046 federal lawsuits have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings in MDL 2606, before US District Judge Robert B. Kugler. That’s an increase of more than 100, from the 915 lawsuits sitting in the MDL as of July 15, but it’s a drastic increase from the 70 lawsuits consolidated by June 15, 2015.
Meanwhile, state lawsuits filed in New Jersey have been centralized under Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson, according to reports. More than 50 lawsuits now sit in the centralized multicounty litigation.
Lawsuits filed against Daiichi Sankyo allege patients who used olmesartan medoxomil (the generic name for Benicar) developed a serious gastrointestinal problem called sprue-like enteropathy, which is linked to severe diarrhea and weight loss. In July 2013, the FDA issued a warning that Benicar was linked to an increased risk of sprue-like enteropathy following reports of 23 serious cases of the condition linked to Benicar. When it made its announcement, the FDA noted that there was “clear evidence” of a link between the use of Benicar and the development of gastrointestinal problems.
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Benicar is an angiotensin II receptor blocker and treats high blood pressure. According to reports, sprue-like enteropathy can develop anywhere from months to years after starting Benicar therapy.
More lawsuits are still being filed against Daiichi Sankyo, with litigation in early stages. Because Benicar is widely used, there is the potential for many more lawsuits to be filed. As more lawsuits are filed, the multidistrict and multicounty litigations will continue to work their way through state and federal court.
Consolidation into multidistrict or multicounty litigation is not a comment on the merits of a claim, but is an acknowledgement that the suits all contain similar questions of fact.