U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in New Jersey will handle 70 Benicar lawsuits centralized in MDL. Many people taking the blood pressure medication Benicar have filed suit claiming they’ve suffered harmful side effects such as chronic diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. The plaintiffs claim that Benicar’s makers, Daiich Sankyo and Forest Laboratories, failed to warn patients and doctors about the side effects. MDL’s give courts and parties the opportunity to coordinate discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and, in general, make the whole process easier for all involved.
Plaintiffs in the MDL allege that Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories knew or should have known for years that the drug could cause sprue-like enteropathy. They further allege that the companies chose not to disclose the information in an effort to increase profits.
Benicar is one part of the duos hypertension product line, which includes other drugs such as Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor. All the drugs in the product line are involved in lawsuits over severe gastrointestinal side effects. The primary side effect in question is sprue-like enteropathy, a condition that can cause hospitalization-level diarrhea. It may also cause permanent damage to patients’ GI systems. It also takes months, in some cases years, for the enteropathy to appear.
The FDA issued a warning label update in July 2013, making the manufacturers warn or sprue-like enteropathy on the label. The companies complied.
There were only 45 Benicar lawsuits in federal court when this MDL was created. The latest update puts that count at 70, in addition to the 59 Benicar suits pending in New Jersey state court. Lawyers in the MDL expect the MDL’s total case count to increase by hundreds, if not thousands, of new cases.