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Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Lawsuits

Over 13,000 Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) claims have been filed against the manufacturers of acid reflux pills like Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonic, Nexium, and Dexilant for causing life-changing health issues. Plaintiffs allege that PPI use resulted in kidney failure, kidney damage, and severe interstitial nephritis. 

The PPI claims state that manufacturers refused to do the needful by issuing warnings about the medications’ side effects to patients and medical practitioners.

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Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Lawsuits

Over 13,000 Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) claims have been filed against the manufacturers of acid reflux pills like Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonic, Nexium, and Dexilant for causing life-changing health issues. Plaintiffs allege that PPI use resulted in kidney failure, kidney damage, and severe interstitial nephritis. 

The PPI claims state that manufacturers refused to do the needful by issuing warnings about the medications’ side effects to patients and medical practitioners. A few lawsuits allege that AstraZeneca, a top pharmaceutical company in the US, warned the public ten years after it discovered kidney damage risks linked to their PPIs. 

In July 2022, there were a total of 13,366 PPI lawsuits, all pending in the Federal Court. A panel consolidated these claims in an MDL in August 2017.

Lawyers expect more claims (in their thousands) to be a part of this Multidistrict Litigation. The first “bellwether trial” on this MDL will be held in October 2022.

Below, we’ll look at proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and how they work. In light of recent lawsuits, this guide will give context to notable side effects and how PPI manufacturers failed to warn the public. If you suffered any health condition due to PPI use, we’d shed light on how you can seek compensation for your losses.

Ready to know more? Let’s get started!

What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Proton pump inhibitors are pills designed to reduce a person’s “proton pump.” For context, the proton pump is a part of the body’s gastric parietal cells (seen in the stomach lining). 

They’re vital in stomach acid formation. PPIs are used to restrict the enzyme required to start this production.

Halting the proton pump invariably reduces a person’s stomach acid. 

This reduction is essential to treat the following: 

  • Acid reflux disease is also tagged GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Peptic ulcer
  • The Zollinger-Ellison disease, an ailment that prompts peptic ulcers
  • Esophagus erosion
  • Gastric ulcers

Since the listed conditions are common, PPI use has become widespread. Notable PPI pills include:

  • Dexilant
  • Protonix
  • Aciphex
  • Prevacid
  • Nexium
  • Prilosec

Notable PPI Side Effects

The common side effects of proton pump inhibitors are:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • High fever
  • Respiratory tract infections (e.g., sinus infections and laryngitis)
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Stomach acid regurgitation
  • Back pain 
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pains

Although the listed are typical side effects, PPI pills can cause life-threatening conditions, such as:

  • An increased risk of hip fractures
  • Pneumonia
  • High risk of coronary artery diseases for patients on blood thinning medications
  • Kidney swelling and acute interstitial nephritis
  • Renal failure and chronic kidney disease

PPI Claims Against Manufacturers

PPI manufacturers failed to warn patients and medical personnel about the severe side effects of these drugs. Thus, individuals who develop illnesses due to daily PPI use are filing “product liability” lawsuits against the companies responsible for their production.

These lawsuits state that manufacturers were negligent by not issuing adequate warnings about the notable side effects of PPIs, thereby placing people’s lives at risk. 

Legally, pharmaceutical firms must state the negatives of their drugs before distribution. Doctors rely on these warnings to weigh the pros and cons of prescribing any medication to patients. However, PPI drug producers failed to issue these crucial caveats to boost sales and maintain positive profits. 

Plaintiffs seek settlement for damages incurred while treating ailments linked to PPI usage. 

The defendants in proton pump inhibitor (PPI) lawsuits include: 

  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Dexilant and Prevacid)
  • AstraZeneca (Nexium and Prilosec)
  • Procter & Gamble (Prilosec OTC)
  • Pfizer (Protonix)

NOTE: Claims against Prilosec, made by AstraZeneca, state that the company knew about their PPI drug links to kidney damage and failed to issue any warning until 10 years after its initial discovery (2004). 

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Kidney Injury Cases Consolidated

In October 2016, PPI patrons who’d already filed six claims against manufacturers implored the Federal Court to combine federal kidney injury-related lawsuits into an MDL (Multidistrict Litigation).

Before this period, 15 pending lawsuits depicted similar specifics in 12 separate district courts. By the next year (February 2017), the number of these lawsuits almost tripled, reaching 39 claims. 

Plaintiffs in these cases alleged that they’d suffered a vast array of kidney damage, including acute kidney disease and renal failure. 

They also claimed that AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and other proton pump inhibitor manufacturers didn’t notify them about the high risk of kidney anomalies when ingesting PPI variants like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and other notable PPI prescriptions. 

The motion for the MDL consolidation of these lawsuits was denied in February 2017 by the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). 

In a statement, the Panel said its MDL denial was due to the number of actions against each firm and the fact that companies in these litigations were competitors. 

For example, AstraZeneca had 37 actions. Conversely, Pfizer had four, Takeda had two, and Procter & Gamble had eight. 

Also, the Panel’s MDL denial stemmed from the kidney injuries claimed by plaintiffs, the manufacturing timeline of these pills, and the period they got approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

On the 2nd of August, 2017, the Judicial Panel directed the centralization of these PPI lawsuits in the District of New Jersey. Complainants in 24 claims also requested MDL consolidation by the Panel. During this period, the total pending claims had reached 161. A bulk of these lawsuits (sixty) were filed in the District of New Jersey — this number was higher than legal actions in other districts.

Notable Lawsuit Examples

Some notable PPI kidney damage claims include:

  • Harry Mason

A resident of Madison County, Illinois, Harry Mason is the first individual to file a kidney damage claim against AstraZeneca in the Southern District of Illinois. 

This filing was made in May 2016.

Using Nexium as a reference, the litigation alleged that AstraZeneca knew about the risk of kidney injury on its PPI drug since 2004. However, they failed to issue any warning on the product’s package. 

Mason’s PPI case claimed that he started using the pill in 2006. Continuous usage resulted in kidney failure and chronic kidney disease. Fortunately, he returned to normalcy after a successful kidney transplant. 

Mason wanted compensatory and exemplary damages in his case. Nonetheless, in March 2017, he voluntarily withdrew his Nexium claim, according to court notes.

  • Jackie Koon

Jackie Koon, a resident of Sedgwick County in Kansas, sued AstraZeneca due to kidney damages she blamed on their PPI drug — Prilosec — back in August 2016. 

Jackie started using Prilosec in 2010 and continued until 2013, when she realized that she’d developed a major kidney injury — end-stage renal failure or ESRD. ESRD patients will die if they can’t get a timely kidney transplant.

With this in view, Jackie sought a settlement worth $10 million. 

According to her, the ESRD resulted in severe physical and mental turmoil, reduced how she enjoyed her life, and medical bills from treatment and daily medications. 

  • Penelope Costamagna

This Californian resident developed kidney failure after ingesting Prilosec for a few years. To recover and lead a normal life, Penelope required a transplant. 

Penelope filed lawsuits against Procter & Gamble and AstraZeneca back in February 2017.

Penelope stopped ingesting the Prilosec drug once her doctors diagnosed her with kidney injury. 

She led a normal life and felt all was well until doctors diagnosed her kidney injury. 

Her complaint shows she’ll need a kidney transplant to live normally or die if there’s no room for one.

  • Karen Vertrees

A resident of Tennessee, Karen Vertrees, filed a claim against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. She alleged that the company’s PPI medications — Dexilant and Prevacid — facilitated her kidney injury and damage. 

Her lawsuit claimed doctors prescribed these PPIs to her on many occasions from 2001 – 2014. 

Her case further stated that she wouldn’t have ingested Dexiland and Prevacid if she’d known about the kidney injury risks of these proton pump inhibitors. 

  • Jeanette Stockton

Jeanette Stockton, a Louisiana resident, filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca in January 2017. She blamed the firm’s PPI pill — Nexium — for the onset of her kidney injuries.

Her complaint states that she began Nexium ingestion back in 2002. 10 years later, in 2012, she got a kidney damage diagnosis from doctors. Albeit diagnosed with kidney injury, she didn’t know they stemmed from using Nexium. Thus, she continued usage until May 2016.

Her complaint reiterated that the warnings issued by AstraZeneca weren’t accurate, thereby putting her life at risk. 

Nexium Claims on Bone Fractures

A distinct set of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against the renowned pharmaceutical company – AstraZeneca. 

These claims allege that the company’s Nexium PPI is the sole cause of bone density loss, bone fractures, and bone deterioration. 

Back in 2017, a resident of Ohio, Ginny Begin, filed a claim against AstraZeneca. This case alleged that the company had prior knowledge about the links of Nexium to bone fractures but refused to inform users and medical personnel about it. 

Begin, in her complaint, said that she started using the Nexium PPI when she had a bone fracture while doing her daily activities. While walking down the stairs two years later, Ginny fractured the same bone and two others.

Complaints bearing semblance to Ginny’s came to the fore in the same year. This time, 30+ Texans came out to file Nexium bone fracture lawsuits against the maker — AstraZeneca. The leading plaintiff, Natalie Stampfer, was 49 when these claims were filed. 

According to her, she was walking around the mall when she suddenly fractured a bone. She said that her doctors hadn’t seen a bone fracture happen that way.

To alleviate the pain, she’s resorted to wearing boots. 

Another plaintiff, aged 47 (when the claim was filed), Cindy Davidson, said her bone broke during a “roller skating” stint with her daughter. The youngest and only male plaintiff in the case, Cole Williams (aged 9), broke his right arm after ingesting Nexium for 18 months. 

While the circumstances of complainants differ, they’re all seeking some form of settlement as their fractures stemmed from the firm’s failure to warn users about the side effects of Nexium. According to these lawsuits, the at-fault manufacturer — AstraZeneca — knowingly put the Nexium PPI on the market despite its risks.

Timeline of Nexium Cases for Bone Fractures

Here’s a timeline of how Nexium lawsuits unfolded:

  • 2011: First-ever Nexium claim is filed. The defendant. This lawsuit claims that the drug facilitated a woman’s sudden bone fracture.
  • 2012: The consolidation of 47 lawsuits into an MDL is billed to hold in a Federal Court based in California.
  • 2012: Over 1,000 cases are identified by the Multidistrict Litigation panel.
  • 2014: The judge issues a final verdict that favors AstraZeneca.

Major Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Lawsuit Settlements

If your kidney damage or bone fracture was caused by PPI usage, you’re eligible for compensation. To get the ball rolling, consider hiring a top-notch product liability lawyer to litigate on your behalf and seek a settlement that tallies your losses. 

The following are the notable compensations issued by the PPI manufacturers and their timelines:

  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals (2014)

Takeda Pharmaceuticals reached a settlement in 2014 after Prevacid lawsuits established a link between their proton pump inhibitor pill and sudden bone fractures. 

The value of the settlement wasn’t disclosed.

  • AstraZeneca (February 2015)

During this period, AstraZeneca agreed to pay a lump sum of $20 million to people in a Prilosec and Nexium class action that lasted for over 10 years. These claims alleged that AstraZeneca spent more than $260 million on advertisements that would’ve invariably seen users pay more for these PPI medications.

  • Pfizer (2012 and 2016)

2012 was the year when Pfizer paid over $55 million to the US government. The latter accused Pfizer of not branding the drug properly and promoting it to medical personnel for illegitimate purposes. 

Pfizer had a fresh squabble with the US government in 2016. For context, the entity’s Wyeth Unit was accused of overcharging Protonix’s Medicaid. Pfizer parted with a mind-boggling $784 million to settle this claim.

Who Can File a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Lawsuit?

  1. To qualify for a PPI lawsuit, you must’ve used a related pill for at least 12 months and gotten a kidney disease or damage diagnosis. 

    Notable PPI drugs embedded in most lawsuits include:

    • Prilosec
    • Dexilant
    • Prevacid
    • Protonix

     

    If you suffered kidney damage from PPI use, note that you’re eligible for compensation. Thus, hire an attorney to review your case in conjunction with available proton pump inhibitor lawsuit information to seek a settlement that tallies all incurred damages. 

Questions Your Lawyer Might Ask Before Filing a Claim

What PPI Brands Did You Ingest?

Dexilant, Protonix, and Prevacid are the most common PPI brands in proton pump inhibitor lawsuits.

Thus, giving an insight into the variations you ingested is crucial for your attorney to build a rock-solid claim.

Did You Experience Side Effects After Taking PPI Drugs?

Proton pump inhibitors present numerous side effects, including diarrhea and nausea. PPIs can also cause severe side effects like kidney damage or peptic ulcers. 

Relay, in detail, to your lawyer, the mild to severe side effects you experienced while taking a PPI drug.

How Are You Managing Chronic Kidney Damage Caused By the PPI?

If you’re suffering from chronic kidney damage caused by a PPI, your legal advisor will need to know if you’ve undergone a kidney transplant or are still on dialysis. 

Both treatment methods can drain you physically and emotionally. Thus, keep your attorney informed about the procedures you’ve undergone. 

Final Words

If you or a loved one developed kidney disease or had bone fractures after PPI intake, note that you can get a fair settlement from the at-fault manufacturer. 

To start the procedure, hire a product liability attorney operating on a contingency-fee-basis. That way, you’re sure you won’t pay legal expenses until you receive a settlement. 

See If You Can File

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