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.
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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.