What is the Latest Status of the Benicar Litigation Over Sprue-Like Enteropathy?
In August 2017, a $300 million Benicar settlement was reached to resolve the litigation over injuries stemming from use of Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor or Tribenzor prior to May 2015. As a result, new cases are no longer being reviewed by Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. and this page is provided for informational purposes only.
At the peak of the litigation, several thousand product liability lawsuits were filed in courts throughout the country on behalf of individuals who alleged that side effects of Benicar caused sprue-like enteropathy, a serious medical condition associated with:
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Dehydration and Malnutrion
- Other Stomach Problems
The first complaints were filed in early 2014. Amid a mounting number of cases, the federal Benicar litigation was centralized as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, in April 2015 and a number of state court cases pending in New Jersey have been centralized as part of an MCL, or Multicounty Litigation. The proceedings in both courts remain in the very early stages.
Benicar MDL (Multidistrict Litigation)
In December 2014, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, seeking to centralize cases filed throughout the federal court system before one judge. Known as a Benicar MDL, such consolidated proceedings are designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
Following oral arguments in March 2016, a transfer order was issued that centralizes all Benicar sprue-like enteropathy lawsuits before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in the District of New Jersey to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting orders from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
Allegations Raised in Benicar Diarrhea Litigation
All of the complaints in the Benicar injury litigation involved similar allegations that Daiichi Sankyo failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the risk of chronic diarrhea associated with the blood pressure medication.
As a result of the drug maker’s decision to withhold this important information, many users have suffered diarrhea symptoms on Benicar for years, which often resulted in repeated hospitalization and medical treatment as doctors attempted to determine the cause of the problems.
In many cases, problems caused by Benicar were misdiagnosed as celiac disease.
In July 2012, a report published in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings described cases consistent with celiac disease among users of Benicar. However, the researchers noted that when the use of Benicar was stopped symptoms often resolved.
In July 2013, the FDA issued new Benicar warnings (PDF) about the risk of severe diarrhea problems, indicating that doctors should be aware that patients may develop sprue-like enteropathy months or even years after first using the medication. This was the first notice many doctors had about the potential link between Benicar and diarrhea.
As a result of the delayed diagnosis, many users have been left with permanent gastrointestinal damage, including villous atrophy, which involves the erosion of the microscopic tentacles that line the wall of the small intestines. This can leave individuals with chronic malnutrition and dehydration, as well as a number of other health problems.