Robins Kaplan Takes a Leading Role in the Expanding Litigation over Benicar and Severe Gastrointestinal Injuries
June 3, 2015
Olmesartan medoxomil is a popular prescription blood pressure medication marketed as Benicar®, Benicar HCT®, Azor®, or Tribenzor®. In July of 2013 the FDA issued a Safety Announcement warning that the drug can cause intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy and required the manufacturer to change its label to warn of this potential injury.1
Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.2 These symptoms can be so severe that they require hospitalization for dehydration, kidney failure, and malnourishment.3 An August 2012 Mayo Clinic study found a possible association between the drug and sprue-like enteropathy, and further found that when removed from the drug, all of the patients’ symptoms decreased, and/or resolved completely.4 Since that time, a nationwide French study was published which concluded that olmesartan “causes a severe and potentially life threatening enteropathy,” which is much more common with olmesartan than with other drugs in the same class.5
Robins Kaplan LLP has filed dozens of cases against the manufacturer in both Federal and New Jersey State Court. In April of 2015, the federal court cases were consolidated into an MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the District of New Jersey before the Honorable Robert Kugler.6 In one of the Court’s first orders, Judge Kugler appointed Robins Kaplan partner Tara Sutton to the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee. Ms. Sutton will also Chair the Science Committee. Other Robins Kaplan members appointed to leadership positions include; Rayna Kessler, State Court Liaison; and Holly Dolejsi, Bellwether Selection Committee. Most recently, Robins Kaplan educated the Court on the scientific principles underlying this case. On May 8, 2015, Tara Sutton gave a Science Day presentation to the Judges presiding over the State and Federal Court Litigations.
5 L. Marthey, G. Cadiot, et al. Olmesartan-associated Enteropathy: Results of a National Survey. Ailment. Pharmacol. Ther. (Aug. 2014).
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