AstraZeneca has paid out $425m (£352.37m) to settle lawsuits across two districts in the US that claim its heartburn medications, Nexium (esomeprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole), caused chronic kidney disease.
The UK-based company announced it reached the settlement at the Delaware Superior Court and the New Jersey Superior Court but insists that the original claims are without merit and admits no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.
AstraZeneca has said that this settlement puts an end to litigation over its failure to warn patients about the risk of contracting chronic kidney disease and related issues as a side effect of using prescription drugs.
However, the company still has another singular case on the matter, pending trial, at the Middle District of Louisiana Court, on 15 April 2024. A spokesperson for AstraZeneca said: “AstraZeneca continues to believe these claims are without merit and admits no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement. These settlements avoid continued costly litigation and allow the company to move forward with its purpose of delivering life-changing medicines to millions of patients around the world.”
Both Nexium and Prilosec are types of medications known as proton pump inhibitors, which work by reducing the amount of stomach acid made by glands in the lining of your stomach. However, the use of these drugs has been linked to kidney failure, liver damage and bone problems. The plaintiffs claim these potential side effects were known to the drug companies that manufactured them.
Representation for the plaintiffs, Seeger Weiss LLP and Douglas & London P.C, have said that the end of this litigation resolves around 11,000 claims against the company.
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AstraZeneca’s Nexium sales hit their peak in 2007, reaching $5.2bn. However, sales have steadily been decreasing with the launch of the first generic version in 2015. By 2022, sales of the drug had dipped to $1.28bn.
GlobalData predicts that the company will sell around $452m worth of the drug in 2029. GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.