The plaintiffs in 28 lawsuits over the antidepressant drug Cymbalta have asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize the actions in California (In Re: Cymbalta Products Liability Litigation).
The plaintiffs allege that drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. deceived patients about the negative withdrawal reactions they would experience when they ended treatment with Cymbalta (duloxetine). The reactions include “brain zaps” – electric shock sensations – and other adverse health reactions. On August 15, 2014, the plaintiffs asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize their lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation in California. “Coordination of these lawsuits will ensure that redundancies and discovery efforts are not duplicated,” said Gary Falkowitz, managing attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.
The plaintiffs allege that Eli Lilly did not sufficiently warn patients about withdrawal reactions and injuries when they either attempted to stop, or stopped, taking Cymbalta. In fact, the plaintiffs allege that the drug maker presented the drug as having a significantly reduced risk of withdrawal symptoms. According to the JPML filing, Eli Lilly indicated that the risk is 1 percent, when the risk may actually be 44 to 50 percent higher.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medication Guide for Cymbalta issued in 2009, withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, diarrhea, electric shock sensations in the brain and body (brain zaps), excessive sweating, tiredness, headache, irritability, nausea, vomiting, and sleep problems.
The 28 product liability lawsuits were filed in a number of states nationwide, including Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs seek transfer to the Central District of California because of the location’s accessibility and the number of lawsuits pending in that district.