Darvocet Litigation: The Calm Before the Storm
Current circumstances in Darvocet litigation could be described as the calm before the storm.
The Judicial Panel on Mulitidistrict Litigation (JPML) is currently deliberating on whether or not to grant multidistrict litigation (MDL) status to a growing number of Darvocet lawsuits filed throughout the United States.
The 7-judge panel may come to a decision on the matter when it next meets in late July. We may not know until months later.
Heart problems associated with Darvocet
But as time passes, new plaintiffs file their own Darvocet litigation as they realize they may have suffered cardiac injuries resulting from Darvocet or generic propoxyphene use.
Last December, the FDA removed all propoxyphene products from US shelves in a massive Darvocet recall after the drug was found to cause sometimes-fatal interference to the electrical activity of the heart.
Some plaintiffs joined Darvocet litigation almost immediately following the Darvocet recall. Others are just now realizing past diagnosed heart arrhythmias may be linked to past Darvocet use. Some plaintiffs have filed wrongful death lawsuits after loved ones perished due to Darvocet side effects.
Darvocet multidistrict litigation
Defendant Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, which owns the Darvocet patent, opposes the consolidation of far-reaching Darvocet claims. The company asserts that unique circumstances form the basis of each lawsuit, and thus, Darvocet litigation should proceed on a case-by-case basis.
But the company has recommended a federal district where the suits can be centralized – the Eastern District of Kentucky – should the JPML rule in favor of the MDL. A dozen additional districts were recommended by plaintiffs in an order to show cause.
No matter where the MDL occurs, if it is approved, consolidated Darvocet litigation will likely involve hundreds of plaintiffs. Millions of people have taken Darvocet, Darvon and similar mild painkillers since propoxyphene was first introduced more than 50 years ago. Consumer health advocacy groups say thousands of people have died from accidental propoxyphene overdose.
The question remains how many former Darvocet users will link injuries to past Darvocet use.