Plaintiffs litigating in lawsuits housed within centralized litigation over sprue-like enteropathy were seeking to question two high-ranking members of the Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance Department associated with Daiichi Sankyo Europe GmbH. The two, according to court documents, had intensive involvement in the study of potential intestinal issues fostered by the use of olmesartan medoxomil (Benicar), a medication prescribed for high blood pressure.
Benicar remains an effective medication to treat high blood pressure, a scourge associated with a large segment of the aging American population. However, scores of reports have come in over the emergence of Benicar Illness and Weight Loss – specifically sprue-like enteropathy, a serious and debilitating intestinal issue that can foster intense pain, dehydration and chronic diarrhea. Many patients have landed in hospital and some – especially the elderly – have not survived.
Plaintiffs assert that the two Europe-based investigators were a party to what is being alleged as a defective design for olmesartan. Plaintiffs alleging Benicar defective products suggest the witnesses had “direct complicity” in wrongdoing, and should qualify for deposition based upon their involvement, and value to the case.
Daiichi lobbied against the deposition, noting that the European unit of Daiichi was not a defendant in the case – and that federal regulations do not allow courts to compel foreign witnesses not directly employed by the parties to a lawsuit, to be made available for depositions.
Plaintiffs argued through their attorneys that Daiichi operates as a “global integrated organization” in which employees collaborate, regardless of where they call home and which unit the employee is most closely tied to.
In the end, US District Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider of the US Federal Court in Camden sided with the defendant. “I don't think the court has the authority to [compel deposition] if they're not officers, directors or managing agents,” Judge Schneider said.
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Meanwhile, there is more Benicar on the market, thanks to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of generic olmesartan medoxomil. Mere weeks after the FDA approved generic Benicar October 26 of this year, 20/12.5, 40/12.5 and 40/25mg olmesartan medoxomil and hydrochlorothiazide tablets indicated for hypertension (high blood pressure) are on the market as generics.
The generics are manufactured by Mylan Pharmaceuticals. It is not known if generic Benicar will have the same propensity for Benicar side effects relating to sprue-like enteropathy, as the original branded product.