On June 6, a panel of federal judges appointed U.S. District Judge Karen Marston of Philadelphia to oversee federal proceedings related to injury claims against the popular drug Ozempic and similar GLP-1 drugs, including Wegovy and Mounjaro. Judge Marston is a former federal prosecutor who was nominated to the bench in 2019. She has both prosecuted and presided over numerous high-profile cases during her career.

This appointment follows the death of the previous judge who oversaw the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Philadelphia. 

U.S. District Judge Gene E. K. Pratter, the prominent federal judge originally appointed to oversee the pretrial proceedings for all Ozempic MDL lawsuits in February of this year, died at 75 years old on May 17, 2024. Her death happened just one day after she issued two opinions in ongoing cases. Judge Pratter served the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for 20 years and was well-respected for her legal expertise and commitment to justice. 

Judge Marston has not filed any official orders regarding the bellwether process set by the late Judge Pratter as of June 11, but experts believe Marston is likely to continue the late judge’s work and collaborate with attorneys to select cases for bellwether test trials and manage discovery proceedings.

Rising Ozempic MDL Claims

Plaintiffs in the MDL allege that drug manufacturers at the center of these lawsuits promoted the Type 2 diabetes and weight loss drugs as safe and effective. However, they’re convinced that the manufacturers did not adequately warn patients about the severe side effects of the medications. 

The litigation involves claims from patients who suffered serious side effects such as stomach paralysis (gastroparesis), vomiting, constipation and bowel obstruction after taking drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

The recently consolidated MDL had 101 active lawsuits as of June 3, 2024. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they expect the number of cases to grow to include up to 10,000 personal injury lawsuits.

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