Proton pump inhibitor lawsuits: How these differ from other lawsuits 

Prilosec and Nexium lawsuits form a greater fraction of the 11,000 litigations filed in federal courts every year. The drugs are often blamed for chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, and acute interstitial nephritis.

By April 2019, there were over 10,374 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits pending in federal court. A judicial panel combined all these cases into an MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the year 2017.

Within three months, the number of lawsuits had significantly increased. Attorneys now predict that the MLD could expand further to include thousands of more cases. Plus, the judge overseeing the lawsuit has scheduled the first trial for September 21, 2020.

What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Introduced into the market over 25 years ago, PPI medications were made to combat acid reflux as well as other related issues by inhibiting its cause rather than curing its symptoms. The main problem associated with acid reflux is the overproduction of stomach acid. Proton pump inhibitors prevent this by directly impacting on the system that’s responsible for controlling this process. PPIs block the function of the gastric proton pump irreversibly, preventing acid secretion and consequently eliminating reflux symptoms.

Common Types Of PPI Brands

Several PPI brands, as well as manufacturers, have been implicated in the MDL. They incorporate prescription drugs like Nexium, Dexilant, Protonix, Prisolec, and Prevacid as well as other OTC (over-the-counter) drugs like Prevacid 24HR, Prisolec OTC, and Nexium 24HR.

All cases featured in the MDL claim the medications, utilized for controlling stomach acid, triggered serious side effects which damaged the kidneys. Litigations involving Prisolec, for instance, claim that AstraZeneca was aware of the kidney risks as from 2004, but didn’t warn patients regarding the risks for over 10 years.

Some of the kidney injuries claimed in these lawsuits, include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN)
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney injury
  • Kidney Injury Lawsuits Consolidated

The Main Problems Associated With Proton Pump Inhibitors

AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Takeda are some of the biggest companies involved in the manufacture of these proton pump inhibitor drugs. The complainants claim that the firms failed to adequately warn patients about the risks associated with Prevacid, Prisolec, PPIs, and Nexium.

Considering that the widespread consumption of PPIs as well as their defective nature, it’s likely that more claimants will be negatively affected by the medications. And similar actions are more likely to be filed at the federal courts in the near future.

America’s Judicial Panel on MDLs denied the Multidistrict Litigation request in February 2017. The panel argued that the litigation arose from the plaintiff’s claims that consuming PPIs might result in various forms of kidney injuries, but the mentioned defendants varied from one action to another and are probably competitors. Proctor & Gamble was sued for eight actions, Pfizer in two and Takeda in four. On the other hand, AstraZeneca was sued in over 37 actions.

Increased Number Of PPI-Related Lawsuits

Certain acid reflux medications referred to as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been shown to cause potentially life-threatening side effects. Research shows that over 15 million American citizens take these medications on a frequent basis, that’s why lawsuits continue cropping up across the country.

In October 2016, several PPI users who had filed 6 lawsuits against the manufacturers of these drugs asked the federal judicial court to consolidate all the federal injury cases into one multidistrict litigation.

Similarly, 15 cases of asserting similar prerogatives were pending in twelve district courts. As of February 2017, the total number of federal-related lawsuits significantly increased, reaching 39. The plaintiffs claimed that they suffered and still continue to suffer from severe kidney injuries, including interstitial nephritis, renal failure, acute kidney injuries, as well as chronic kidney disease.

Examples Of Proton Pump Inhibitor Litigations

Harry Mason

Harry Mason, a resident from Madison Country, Illinois brought forward the first federal kidney disease litigation against AstraZeneca in the American District Court in May 2016. The lawsuit alleged that the pharmaceutical firm received complaints about Nexium’s relation to kidney injury by the year 2004 yet continued to sell the drug aggressively without updating its warning label.

Mason said that he started using the medication in 2006 and ended up developing chronic kidney disease as well as kidney failure. But he was only able to recover after undergoing a kidney transplant. The complaint stated that the victim was seeking actual, compensatory, and punitive damages. However, Mason voluntarily dismissed his litigation in March 2017.

Jackie Koon

Jacki Koon from Segwick County, Kansas also sued AstraZeneca in August 2016 over permanent kidney injuries caused by Prilosec.

Koon started consuming the drug in 2013 and continued using it through 2013. Because of this, she developed ESRD (end-stage renal disease). Unless they have a kidney transplant, people with ESRD are more likely to die.

In her original complaint, Koon sought $10 million. She claimed that the disease caused her severe physical pain as well as mental anguish, including reduced enjoyment of life and the need to take lifelong medical treatment.

PPIs and Kidney Damage Risk

Some of the most common types of PPIs utilized in today’s medical world include Dexilant, Nexium, Prisolec, Protonix, Prevacidand Aciphex. 

A study conducted in 2017 revealed some startling insights about the effects of PPIs on kidney function. Utilizing patient data from the Johns Hopkins University and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the clinical study compared the results of patients using PPI to those of H2 blocker users.

At the beginning of the study, no participant showed any serious signs of kidney damage after taking H2 blockers. But as for the PPI users, it was found that the participants showed an increased risk for interstitial nephritis, which can lead to serious infections, autoimmune disorders as well as toxicities. In addition, the data suggested that prolonged consumption of proton pump inhibitors led to a substantial increase in kidney disease, chronic kidney damage, and kidney failure.


According to various clinical studies, proton pump inhibitors have potentially life-threatening side effects. They’ve been showed to cause kidney failure, interstitial nephritis, kidney disease, as well as severe kidney damage. More and more plaintiffs are now coming forth to file lawsuits against certain companies for having created unsafe PPI products.