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Lawsuits Over Benicar Move to Atlantic City

April 11, 2014 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence - Personal Injury

Personal injury attorneys in New Jersey are reporting an increase in lawsuits against the makers of the blood-pressure drug Benicar, which apparently causes intestinal problems that cause chronic diarrhea and dramatic, dangerous weight loss. A majority of these lawsuits are pending in both the state and federal courts, and allege that the drug was designed with defects, and marketed to users without proper warnings or coverage of the serious adverse side effects.

The lawsuits are targeting the drug’s Japanese manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo, as well as the U.S. subsidiary in Parsippany, New York. The marketing company, Forest Laboratories of New York, and its partner, the Forest Research Institute, based in Jersey City, have also been named. Forest Laboratories had agreed to market Benicar from 2002 to 2008. 

In 2013, Daiichi Sankyo updated the drug’s warning label to reflect a common side effect reported by users—a condition called sprue-like enteropathy, in which those affected experienced drastic weight loss, vomiting, and electrolyte imbalance. This warning was generated by the Food and Drug Administration, and 

In one of the most recent cases, Rubin v. Daiichi Sankyo, the plaintiff, Harriet Rubin, was rushed to the emergency room with severe diarrhea, vomiting, malnutrition, dehydration, and serious weight loss after taking Benicar. She claims that her condition now requires close monitoring, and she has suffered emotional distress from her experience. In her lawsuit, she charges the company with civil conspiracy, fraud, breach of warranty, negligence and negligent concealment, loss of consortium, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. 

Rubin is seeking compensation for her medical bills, her future expenses, and the legal fees she has incurred. New Jersey personal injury lawyers report that in at least one other case, Douglass v. Daiichi Sankyo, the plaintiff won a remand. The suit will be litigated in state court. 

In accordance with the New Jersey Court R. 4:5A-2, a civil complaint cannot be served until after the Superior Court clerk sends the plaintiff a copy of the Track Assignment Notice and dockets the case. This process can take some time, and gives defense lawyers a chance to check through the state court dockets for new lawsuits, and even petition for removal. 

Atlantic County has been chosen as the venue for the majority of the personal injury cases throughout the state, and the cases have been assigned to Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee, who handles the county’s mass-tort, or multicounty litigation, docket. There is at least one other case pending against Benicar and its makers in Louisiana’s federal court. 

Due to the wide range of problems resulting from Benicar usage, lawyers anticipate that the number of lawsuits will only increase. The serious harm caused by the drug and its side effects have left people with medical complications, and struggling with hospitalization bills, long-term treatment needs, and other expenses and inconveniences. 

If you are taking medication that was improperly marketed or made, you may have a claim. Contact a personal injury attorney at New Jersey firm Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, to discuss your options today. 

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