We recently had the opportunity to participate in an enlightening webinar courtesy of Mass Torts Made Perfect, focusing on the burgeoning Ozempic litigation that’s generating quite a buzz within legal circles. These webinars are invaluable for lawyers involved in mass torts, and the best part is they’re free. With over 250 attendees, the interest in this topic is undeniably genuine.
Understanding the Ozempic Litigation
It’s crucial to clarify that the Ozempic litigation landscape is multifaceted. While a patent MDL is ongoing, individual suits have emerged, primarily related to side effects caused by the medication. The specific concern here revolves around gastroparesis attributed to Ozempic usage. Therefore, the initial focus is on gathering essential information concerning its use, diagnosis, and related details.
Seeking individuals who have taken Ozempic, or similar RD1 inhibitor drugs, resulting in hospitalization due to gastroparesis is a priority. While it’s still early in the case development, there’s a consensus that this has the potential to be a significant legal matter in the future.
Identifying the Defendants
The primary defendants in these cases are Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly. However, Novo cases may have stronger grounds due to specific labeling concerns. The suitability of either manufacturer is yet to be determined.
It’s important to note that Levin Papantonio is not currently accepting Eli Lilly cases, though this stance could change. Other presenters on the call did not rule out including them in their cases. What everyone concurs on is the need for more robust warnings regarding gastroparesis. Additionally, both defendants have seen their stocks rise by more than 25% in 2023, indicating their substantial financial resources.
Insight into Case Intake
Regarding case intake, presenters unanimously stressed the importance of commencing with a history of Ozempic use and a medical diagnosis of gastroparesis. While diagnoses such as gastric stasis, gastric paralysis, or gastric obstruction may have potential, a clear gastroparesis diagnosis is the primary focus.
As of now, the criteria for viable cases include hospitalization as a result of the condition, with multiple ER visits or inpatient care. Common side effects like nausea and vomiting won’t suffice, nor will cases solely involving gallbladder removal, as the damages are deemed too low to pursue.
Presenting firms also concurred that liver injuries and pancreatic cancer lack the required causation. The emphasis is on demonstrating real and substantial harm.
Off-Label Use Complexity
Another complication arises from the fact that Ozempic, originally intended for diabetics, has been used off-label by physicians for weight loss and other purposes. Gastroparesis is indeed a side effect of diabetes but typically manifests over extended periods. The presenters underscored the need for diabetic cases to be evaluated individually. There’s no blanket exclusion of all diabetic cases at this stage.
Early Stages of Litigation
While this is an emerging case, it is expected to evolve into a significant legal matter. The assumption is that an MDL will be established in due course, even though no applications have been submitted to the JPML to date. As of now, only one case has been filed in federal court. Therefore, it’s imperative to exercise caution in handling intakes and leads, focusing on strong cases with substantial damages.
This litigation is undoubtedly in its infancy, and there will likely be numerous twists and turns before any concrete predictions can be made. Stay tuned for further developments in this intriguing legal landscape.