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Benicar Lawsuit Plaintiff Lobbies for Ohio State Consolidation

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Cleveland, OHAll she wants for Christmas is justice served. Of course, Benicar side effects plaintiff Annette M. Johnson will have to wait, probably, a few Christmas seasons before she and other plaintiffs are in a position to unwrap their gift of compensation for Benicar illness and weight loss.

Nonetheless, the process has begun, commencing with the filing of a Benicar defective products lawsuit in Ohio Northern District Court on December 5 (Johnson v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. et al, Case No. 3:2014cv02672, Ohio Northern District Court). The plaintiff is lobbying to have her lawsuit consolidated with others in Ohio State.

Benicar (olmesartan) is a hypertension drug designed to lower blood pressure and developed by Daiichi Sankyo (Sankyo) in 1996. It’s been on the market since 2002 and has been widely prescribed - not a surprise, given the percentage of the population suffering from high blood pressure. Since that time a number of adverse event reports suggesting sprue-like enteropathy, a gastrointestinal condition characterized by the presence of severe and often uncontrollable diarrhea, have come in to the Adverse Events Reporting System (AERS) maintained by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The often chronic nature of the diarrhea, combined with substantial weight loss, has sent many a patient and potential plaintiff to the hospital for treatment and recovery.

A research team affiliated with The Mayo Clinic commenced a four-year study in 2008 and released their findings in 2012. A year later, after analyzing the findings of the Mayo Clinic study and breaking out reports of sprue-like enteropathy in its own AERS reporting system, the FDA in 2013 issued a safety bulletin in July of that year suggesting clear evidence of an association between olmesartan (Benicar) and sprue-like enteropathy.

Various Benicar lawsuits - including the filing by Johnson - claim that Sankyo designed and released Benicar in a defective manner, and thus are making allegations of Benicar defective products. The plaintiffs also accuse Sankyo and its marketing partner, Forest Laboratories (Forest), of failure to warn.

Sankyo is based in New Jersey. So far, there are more than 30 Benicar lawsuits filed in New Jersey state court and about 15 cases pending in federal court. Nine of those federal cases - a clear majority - are pending in Ohio. A motion filed on behalf of Annette Johnson on December 18 asks that all federal and state cases see consolidation before US District Judge Dan Aaron Polster in US District Court, Northern District of Ohio.

“Pretrial centralization allows defendants to work with one consolidated set of discovery requests and filings from plaintiffs’ counsel in federal cases, rather than negotiating with various counsel and courts across the country,” the motion states. “Pretrial centralization will also allow plaintiffs and defendants to concentrate their attention and energy on one federal forum, allowing plaintiffs and defendants to respond more quickly and effectively to opposing counsel and the transferee court, enhancing the overall efficiency of the litigation.”

Defendants in the Johnson lawsuit are Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Daiichi Sankyo US Holdings, Inc., Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., Forest Laboratories, Inc., Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Forest Research Institute, Inc. Forest was acquired by Actavis on July 1 of this year.

The MDL is In re: Benicar (and Other Olmestartan Drugs) Products Liability Litigation, before the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, MDL Case no. 2606.

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