At its last meeting of 2020, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to create a new Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to hear claims filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for injuries caused by Elmiron. The JPML order consolidates 42 lawsuits to the U.S. District Court of New Jersey where Judge Brian R. Martinotti will preside over the pretrial hearings and litigation process.
The JPML recognized that Judge Martinotti is well-versed in the subtleties of complex multidistrict litigation and will set the litigation on a prudent course. Judge Martinotti is off to a busy start for 2021 as he was also assigned to preside over a new MDL for ParaGard by the JPML. The primary issue during the December meeting was not whether the Elmiron lawsuits should be centralized, but into which federal district court.
According to Law360, plaintiffs’ attorneys Michael London of Douglas & London and Melanie Muhlstock of Parker Waichman were pleased with the selection of Judge Martinotti. London said “Judge Martinotti has held status conferences [for Elmiron] almost every three weeks. He clearly fits this bill.” In agreement, Muhlstock stated “he is already proceeding in a manner inclusive of all parties currently before him. He has also taken the initiative to affirmatively coordinate with other jurisdictions to ensure a seamless start to an MDL.”
Lawsuits filed by plaintiffs allege J&J concealed the risk of harmful side effects of Elmiron which can result in serious eye damage and blindness.
Elmiron Litigation: What You Need to Know
Elmiron is commonly prescribed for the treatment of interstitial cystitis (IC), also referred to as painful bladder syndrome (PBS). Elmiron, also known as pentosan polysulfate sodium, or PPS, is taken orally and was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. The drug was thought to ease bladder pain and discomfort by providing an extra coating of protection to the inner bladder walls, helping to mitigate painful irritation from urine in the patient’s bladder. Although men can develop interstitial cystitis, more than 90% of patients are female.
Painful Bladder Syndrome or Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystisis is a rare chronic bladder issue causing extreme pain and pressure in the bladder area. Along with pain are other lower urinary tract symptoms which can last for more than 6 weeks without signs of infection or other clear cause. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and are sporadic for some patients. While IC is not a bladder infection, it may feel like one.
Eye Injuries Linked to Elmiron
Long-term use of Elmiron has been linked to a rare but very serious eye condition called pigmentary maculopathy which is a type of macular degeneration of the eye. The condition was first discovered in early 2018 by a group of Ophthalmologists during a research study conducted by the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta. The disease was identified for the first time in 6 female patients whose only common trait was they were all taking Elmiron for interstitial cystitis.
When the scientists at Emory took a closer look at the manufacturer’s own studies during the development process, they found some disturbing evidence. The Emory scientists looked back at all the early clinical trials of Elmiron performed by Janssen, the original manufacturer. They found in Janssen’s own clinical trial of 2,500 patients who took Elmiron for up to four years, both vision and eye-related adverse events were reported. Clinical trials revealed optic neuritis and retinal hemorrhage.
NOT ONLY DO THESE RISKS NOT APPEAR ON ELMIRON’S WARNING LABEL, BUT JANSSEN PERFORMED NO FURTHER TESTS OR RESEARCH TO EXPLORE THE CONNECTION.
Symptoms of Pigmentary Maculopathy
Pigmentary maculopathy is a gradual, progressive degenerative condition that first causes the loss of central vision or blind spots and can worsen into total blindness. Within the eye, Pigmentary maculopathy causes the pigmented cells underneath the retina to break down releasing pigment that winds up settling on the macula. The build-up of pigment causes vision distortion and/or blurriness, difficulty adjusting to light and darkness and loss of vision.
Other common symptoms include:
Distorted vision (metamorphopsia)
Sensation of flashing lights
Loss of color
Difficulty adjusting after exposure to bright light
Case Development Support for Elmiron
If your firm is considering joining the fight to help victims of Elmiron, Case Works can help get your cases proven up and ready to file. The Elmiron Team at Case Works is expertly trained to evaluate medical records and work with clients to maximize the value of their claim.
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