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Plaintiffs Pick 4 Tepezza Lawsuits for Bellwether Pool

Plaintiffs Pick 4 Tepezza Lawsuits for Bellwether Pool

Plaintiffs Pick 4 Tepezza Lawsuits for Bellwether Pool

Introduction

Tepezza, a medication developed by Horizon Therapeutics to address thyroid eye disease or bulging eyes, has found itself entangled in a growing number of lawsuits related to hearing loss.

Former users of the drug have been filing complaints, leading to the establishment of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in July 2023. This legal consolidation, overseen by a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Illinois, aims to streamline the discovery process and pretrial proceedings for the numerous cases against the drug manufacturer.

The thyroid eye disease drug, Tepezza, was introduced in January 2020 as a pioneering biologic treatment for a condition associated with hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease. The disease manifests as inflammation of various eye components, including muscles, eyelids, tear glands, and the fatty tissues behind the eye. Despite being initially targeted at a limited market, Tepezza saw a significant increase in sales, reaching $1.66 billion in the second year after its U.S. market debut. Critics have raised concerns about aggressive marketing practices that allegedly failed to adequately disclose potential risks associated with the drug.

The litigation against Horizon Therapeutics now involves nearly 100 complaints from individuals who claim to have suffered various forms of hearing damage, ranging from persistent ringing in the ears (tinnitus) to complete hearing loss, following Tepezza treatments. Disturbingly, in many instances, the hearing impairment appears to persist long after the conclusion of thyroid eye disease treatments, resulting in irreversible damage.

In response to the common questions of fact and law raised across federal courts, the Tepezza MDL was established to centralize the lawsuits. The MDL allows for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, providing a more efficient approach to handling the complex litigation involving a multitude of plaintiffs.

As part of the MDL management, the judge implemented a bellwether program. This program involves the selection of 12 representative cases that will undergo case-specific discovery, preparing them for early trial dates. The purpose of these bellwether trials is to offer insights into how juries are likely to respond to particular evidence and testimony that will be recurring themes throughout the broader litigation.

Both plaintiffs and defendants were instructed to select four cases each for inclusion in the initial Tepezza lawsuit bellwether discovery pool. Additionally, the court will randomly choose four cases from the remaining eligible Tepezza lawsuits. Defendants have until April 1 to submit their list of case selections.

The bellwether selections are crucial in shaping early trials, providing an indication of how juries may react to evidence, especially concerning allegations that users might have avoided Tepezza-related hearing problems if the drug manufacturer had adequately disclosed information about the risks. Plaintiffs argue that Horizon Therapeutics should have instructed doctors to conduct hearing tests before and during treatments.

In a significant development, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an updated version of the Tepezza prescribing information guide in July 2023. The revised label now includes warnings about severe and permanent hearing loss associated with Tepezza use. It also advises doctors to assess patients' hearing before, during, and after Tepezza infusions to prevent permanent ear damage.

While the outcomes of the Tepezza bellwether early trials are not legally binding on other claims in the litigation, they can significantly impact the average lawsuit payouts. These outcomes may influence the overall settlement negotiations, providing a basis for resolving the multitude of cases without the need for individual trials in the years to come.

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