SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 16 said plaintiffs claiming to suffer withdrawal symptoms from the antidepressant Cymbalta cannot reopen their case after they voluntarily dismissed the case in a now-banned tactic to get appellate review of adverse lower court rulings (Melissa Strafford, et al. v. Eli Lilly and Company, No. 18-56064, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1717).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania state court judge on Jan. 17 granted remittitur of an $8 billion Risperdal gynecomastia punitive damage verdict to $6.8 million (Nicholas Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 130401990, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 affirmed a reduced a pelvic mesh plaintiff’s $20 million verdict, turning aside Ethicon Inc.’s arguments that the claim is preempted by federal law and that Indiana’s product liability law required the plaintiff to prove that there was a safer alternative design to the device (Barbara Kaiser v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-2944, 7th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Apnea device maker ResMed Corp. has agreed to pay more than $37.5 million to resolve five false claims lawsuits that it paid kickbacks to get suppliers and health care providers to buy its medical devices, the U.S. Justice Department announced Jan. 15 (United States, ex rel. Gibran Ameer v. ResMed, Inc., No. 15-4842, D. S.C.; United States ex rel. Thomas Baker v. ResMed, Inc., No. 16-987, D. S.C.; United States ex rel. Shawn Ross v. ResMed, Inc., No. 16-1988, S.D. Calif.; United States ex rel. Meyer v. ResMed, Inc., et al., No. 17-12, D. Iowa; United States ex rel. Peter Ottavio v. ResMed, Inc., No. 17-5734, E.D. N.Y.).
BOSTON — The first of seven Insys Therapeutics Inc. defendants was sentenced Jan. 13 to 33 months in federal prison and for his conviction for racketeering, fraud and paying doctors kickbacks to prescribe his employer’s opioid drug Subsys (United States v. Michael J. Gurry, et al., No. 16-cr-10343, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 10 granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by the Arkansas attorney general, who argues that the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred when it found that a state law regulating drug reimbursement rates for pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Leslie Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No. 18-540, U.S. Sup.).
DUBLIN, Ireland — Endo International PLC on Jan. 10 signed an agreement to settle the state of Oklahoma’s opioid investigation for $8.75 million.
PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Florida federal judge overseeing the Abilify multidistrict litigation on Dec. 21 approved a payment of $18,810,595 in reimbursement, common benefit expenses and fees (In Re: Abilify [Aripiprazole] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2734, No. 16-md-2734, N.D. Fla., Pensacola Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219530).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal bankruptcy trustee and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 6 objected to how a proposed liquidation plan for opioid maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. treats stockholders who will be left with worthless shares of the company (In Re: Insys Therapeutics, Inc., et al., No. 19-11292, D. Del. Bkcy.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island state court judge presiding over the state’s opioid lawsuit on Dec. 20 allowed the state to file an amended complaint adding generic drug subsidiaries of Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc., saying Teva would not be prejudiced by expanding the list of defendants (Rhode Island, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. PC-2018-4555, R.I. Super., Providence, 2019 R.I Super. LEXIS 135).
New developments in the following mass tort drug and device cases are marked in boldface type.
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana appeals court on Dec. 31 affirmed that under state law, plaintiffs’ claims involving the Essure birth control device made by Bayer Corp. are not preempted by federal law (Bayer Corporation, et al. v. Rene Leach, et al., No. 19A-CT-625, Ind. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ind. App. LEXIS 583).
BOSTON — The last two defendants to be tried in the New England Compounding Center (NECC) criminal case were sentenced Dec. 19 and 20 to probation (United States v. Kathy S. Chin, et al., No. 14-10363, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Dec. 18 expanded the valsartan multidistrict litigation to include losartan and irbesartan, all high blood pressure drugs allegedly containing N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potential carcinogen (In Re: Valsartan, Losartan and Irbesartan Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2875, JPMDL).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Dec. 19 announced that it will hear arguments on Jan. 30 on whether to centralize 15 federal lawsuits alleging injuries and economic loss from the over-the-counter heartburn drug Zantac (In Re: Zantac [Ranitidine] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2924, JPMDL).
BOSTON — Eight former employees of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. have agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that they caused the filing of false claims by marketing a cholesterol drug for off-label use, according to a stipulation of settlement filed Dec. 19 in federal court in Massachusetts (United States, ex rel. Michele Clark, et al. v. Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 13-11785, D. Mass.).
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Dec. 26 granted a motion by Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. to retain jurisdiction over the drug companies’ appeal of a $465 million opioid judgment (Oklahoma, et al. v. Purdue Pharma, et al., No. 118474, Okla. Sup.).
CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 18 denied a petition for an en banc rehearing of an appeal by two women who sought to enjoin opioid manufacturers from dispensing their drugs to women without first being shown a negative pregnancy test (Amanda Hanlon, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 19-3398, 6th Cir.).
BOSTON — The former CEO of opioid drug maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. on Dec. 31 told a Massachusetts federal judge that his largest “tainted” asset that is available for forfeiture to the U.S. government is his stock in his former company and that that stock now has the value of a penny stock after the government’s indictment of him and other executives and a multimillion-dollar civil settlement forced the company into bankruptcy (United States v. John N. Kapoor, et al., No. 16-cr-10343, D. Mass.).
NEW YORK — Plaintiffs’ counsel on Jan. 6 said in a press release that Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. agreed to pay $54 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging that the drug maker paid bogus speaker fees to doctors to induce them to prescribe drugs for Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis (United States ex rel. Charles Arnstein, et al. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., et al., No. 13-3703, S.D. N.Y.).