Elmiron is a very popular prescription drug used by millions for the treatment of chronic bladder problems. It is also a popular originator of mass tort lawsuits in 2020.
In October 2019, eye doctors at Emory University School of Medicine made a chance discovery that long term use of Elmiron can cause a unique and serious eye disease called pigmentary maculopathy. Pigmentary maculopathy can cause blindness or vision impairment and the only known cause of this condition is the use of the drug Elmiron.
Since this initial discovery, a number of studies have confirmed the link between Elmiron and pigmentary maculopathy. This discovery has led thousands of individuals to stop taking Elmiron and nearly 100 individual Elmiron lawsuits have already been filed across the country.
Evidence Linking Elmiron to Eye Damage and Vision Loss
In October 2019, three ophthalmologists in Atlanta announced that they had found an association between Elmiron use and a very particular type of macular eye damage. After noticing an unusual and unexplained eye disease occurring in some of their patients, the doctors performed their own investigation for a possible cause. The eye doctors started comparing the medical histories and records of the patients with this unique eye condition to look for commonalities that might explain the origins of the disease. It very quickly became apparent what the patients had in common. All of them were long-term users of the prescription drug Elmiron.
The doctors concluded that long-term, high-dose use of Elmiron can result in a type of toxicity that can cause a very unique type of macular eye damage. The condition is now known as pigmentary maculopathy. This discovery was first announced to the medical community in the November 2019 edition of Ophthalmology. Soon after this initial alarm bell was sounded, more comprehensive studies were done to assess the danger of Elmiron. Examinations and detailed retinal imaging were performed on a total of 91 long-term Elmiron users. The results confirmed the suspicions about Elmiron. 22 of the 91 Elmiron users who took part in the study showed clear signs of the unique eye condition. Most of these patients also had signs of Elmiron toxicity.
In a JAMA article published in July 2020, Emory University researchers formally identified this condition as Elmiron-associated pigmentary maculopathy. The JAMA article reviewed the findings of several studies and suggested that eye damage from Elmiron use can occur long after individuals stop using the drug. It also suggested that all long-term Elmiron users should get eye examinations 2 times a year to look for signs of maculopathy.
FDA Requires Update to Elmiron Warning Label
In June 2020, the FDA updated Elmiron’s warning label to include pigmentary maculopathy as a known risk. It mentioned that while many cases involve three years or more of use, retinal damage may occur in those taking it in a shorter period. The FDA also recommended that potential Elmiron patients have their ophthalmologic history examined before taking the drug. They also advised that current Elmiron users have their retinas checked regularly to detect retinal damage.
Elmiron Class Action MDL
The mounting evidence linking Elmiron to pigmentary maculopathy and vision loss has led to a wave of Elmiron lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Over a hundred individual plaintiffs have already filed Elmiron lawsuits in courts across the country. The Elmiron lawsuits in federal court are in the process of being consolidated into a “class action” MDL. In an MDL, mass tort cases involving a single drug or product are consolidated into a combined action assigned to a single judge for purposes of more efficient discovery.
Once the consolidated discovery is completed in the MDL, one or two test cases are selected and sent back to their home court for trial. The results from these test case trials are then used to facilitate the negotiation of a global settlement agreement. Right now, the Elmiron cases are just getting started so any global settlement is some time away.
The Elmiron MDL is going to happen. Janssen is not even opposing the requests to establish an MDL (which should formally occur before the end of 2020). At this point, the only real debate is where the Elmiron MDL will be located. Currently, the 2 contenders for hosting the Elmiron MDL are the Eastern District of Pennsylvania or the District of New Jersey.
New Jersey is Likely Venue
Right now New Jersey appears to be the favorite to win this battle. New Jersey is a candidate because the primary defendant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has its U.S. headquarters in New Jersey. The proposed judge in New Jersey (Hon. Brian Martinotti) is also a veteran in MDL cases with a good reputation. Both Janssen and a faction of plaintiffs’ lawyers are pushing for New Jersey. A competing faction of plaintiffs’ lawyers, however, are lobbying for the Elmiron MDL to be assigned to Judge Wendy Beetlestone in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is where most of the Elmiron cases are already pending. But Judge Beetlestone has never presided over an MDL before and some lawyers are wary about the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
Contact Miller & Zois About Your Elmiron Lawsuit
Our Elmiron vision loss lawyers are currently seeking new cases from ANY individual who has been diagnosed with Elmiron-related pigmentary maculopathy; OR anyone who has experienced vision impairment after taking Elmiron for longer than 1 year. If you meet these qualifications, call us today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.