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Nexium, Prilosec, & Other PPI Lawsuits

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium are blamed in hundreds of lawsuits for causing kidney damage or injuries.

Are you suffering kidney complications from a Proton Pump Inhibitor?

If you took a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) like Nexium or Prilosec and suffered kidney damage or injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.

PPI Lawsuit Stats
  1. Number of Lawsuits Hundreds of active lawsuits
  2. Litigation Status Active
  3. Class-Action Status Inactive
  4. Top Settlement $55 million
  5. Plaintiff Injuries Kidney injury; bone injury; low magnesium levels; food poisoning
  6. Defendants AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; Pfizer Inc.; Proctor & Gamble

Heartburn sufferers spend $10 billion a year on PPIs. Originally sold by prescription only, many PPIs are now available over-the-counter (OTC) and in generic or store-brand versions. The popular heartburn drugs are among the most widely consumed medications in the U.S.

Multiple studies since Prilosec, the first PPI, hit the market have associated the heartburn medications with an increased risk of serious kidney problems. Despite mounting scientific evidence of potential side effects leading to kidney disease or damage, PPIs were widely sold for 18 years before their labels were forced to carry a warning of the risks.

Status of Nexium, Prilosec and Other PPI Lawsuits

Since 2016, people have filed hundreds of lawsuits claiming Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium and other heartburn medicines caused kidney disease, damage or injuries and that manufacturers have failed to warn people about the risk for years.

The American Journal of Medicine published the first case study linking PPI use to kidney injuries in 1992

More than 270 of kidney complication lawsuits have been combined in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey. MDLs allow several similar cases to move more quickly and efficiently through the legal process. Lawyers expect thousands of cases may eventually be included in the proton pump inhibitor MDL.

Timeline of PPI Kidney Complication Issues
  • May 2016
    First Nexium kidney damage lawsuits are filed against AstraZeneca
  • February 2017
    U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denies motion to combine 39 federal lawsuits against various PPI manufacturers into a single MDL
  • July 2017
    JPML reconsiders request to combine 163 lawsuits against five heartburn drug manufacturers into an MDL
  • August 2017
    JPML centralizes 161 PPI cases into one action in a New Jersey federal court
  • January 2018
    Total number of cases in MDL grows to 522

Why People Are Suing Heartburn Drug Manufacturers

The lawsuits being added to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey claim Prilosec, Nexium and other PPIs caused kidney-related complications. People suing these heartburn drug manufacturers claim they “suffered and continue to suffer” from serious kidney injuries or damage.

People claim in lawsuits that PPIs caused:
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney injury
  • Kidney failure
  • Acute interstitial nephritis (a condition that can lead to permanent kidney damage or failure)

Some of the lawsuits were filed by people who developed kidney complications themselves after taking PPIs. Other lawsuits were filed by family members after an immediate relative died from kidney problems after taking the heartburn drugs.

What are the problems you see with proton pump inhibitors?
Rebecca Montrone discusses the problems associated with proton pump inhibitors, many of which have led to legal action

Accusations in Lawsuits Against Heartburn Drug Manufacturers

Lawsuits over kidney-related complications claim that Prilosec manufacturer AstraZeneca knew of possible kidney risks as early as 2004, but never warned patients about the danger. PPI labels did not warn of AIN risks until the FDA required that labels include it starting in 2014.

  • Negligence
  • Misbranding
  • Deceptive advertising
  • Negligent misrepresentation
  • Fraud
  • Failure to warn of PPI side effects
  • Accepting kickbacks
  • Designing, manufacturing and selling defective products

Heartburn Drug Brands Facing Lawsuits

The proton pump inhibitor MDL involves four manufacturers and five specific brands of heartburn medications.

PPIs Named in Lawsuits & Manufacturers Being Sued
Drug Name Manufacturer
Nexium AstraZeneca
Prilosec AstraZeneca
Prilosec OTC Proctor & Gamble
Prevacid Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Protonix Pfizer

Verdicts and Settlements against PPI Manufacturers

The current proton pump inhibitor MDL is still in the very early stages, so there have been no verdicts or settlements yet. But past heartburn drug lawsuits for other causes have included a $55 million settlement. Most settlements so far have resulted from lawsuits brought by the government over PPI manufacturers’ business practices.

Past PPI Lawsuit Settlements
  • 2012
    $55 MILLION Pfizer agrees to settlement with U.S. government for promoting Protonix for unapproved uses
  • 2014
    UNDISCLOSED Takeda Pharmaceuticals settles a lawsuit claiming Prevacid was responsible for bone fractures
  • 2015
    $20 MILLION AstraZeneca agrees to a settlement in a consumer class action lawsuit involving its marketing of Prilosec and Nexium
  • 2015
    $7.9 MILLION AstraZeneca agrees to settlement with U.S. government over alleged kickback scheme involving Nexium
  • 2015
    $24 MILLION Generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals settles lawsuit claiming it took money from AstraZeneca to keep generic Nexium off the market
Were you or a loved one injured after taking a PPI? Get a Free Case Review

Prilosec and Nexium Class Action Lawsuit

AstraZeneca paid $20 million in 2015 to settle a class action lawsuit involving two PPIs the company manufactured – Nexium and Prilosec.

AstraZenca Infographic stat

The class action lawsuit accused AstraZeneca of attempting to “evergreen” the drugs. It claims that as AstraZeneca’s patent on Prilosec was running out, the company created Nexium — a new, nearly identical drug that was much more expensive — to replace it.

Nexium and Prilosec are almost chemically identical

In the class action lawsuit, consumers claimed the company’s $260 million marketing campaign tricked people into buying the more expensive Nexium rather than Prilosec, even though the drugs had the same effect.

FDA Actions, Studies Raise Concerns over PPI Side Effects

Scientific studies and federal safety warnings have highlighted the possibilities of other serious side effects related to PPIs.

FDA requires bone fracture risk added to PPI labels

The first wave of individual lawsuits over the heartburn drugs claimed PPIs such as Nexium had caused or contributed to bone fractures and other bone conditions.

Timeline of PPI Bone Fracture Lawsuits
  • 2011
    First Nexium lawsuit is filed against AstraZeneca, claiming it led to a woman’s bone fractures
  • 2012
    The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) combines 47 Nexium lawsuits in a single multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a California federal court
  • 2012
    MDL grows to more than 1,000 lawsuits against AstraZeneca
  • 2014
    The MDL judge closes the MDL in favor of AstraZeneca
  • 2014
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals settles bone fracture lawsuit naming Prevacid for an undisclosed amount

More recently, research has indicated PPIs increase the risk of serious kidney damage or injury. In December 2014, the FDA required PPI manufacturers to add warnings to their product labels about the risk of acute interstitial nephritis.

Timeline of FDA Actions on PPI Labels:
  • 2010
    FDA revises labels for PPIs to include safety information about a possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist and spine
  • 2011
    FDA safety communication warns of possible low magnesium levels for people taking PPIs for a year or longer – risking muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat
  • 2012
    FDA warns that PPI use can lead to Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, which can lead to more serious intestinal conditions
  • 2014
    The agency warns that taking PPIs for three years or longer can lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency, associated with memory loss
  • 2014
    FDA requires warning of increased risk of acute interstitial nephritis be added to PPI labels
  • 2016
    FDA approves PPI label changes to include risk of lupus erythematosus – a condition in which the body’s immune cells attack other cells or organs in the body

Studies Point to Potential for Future PPI Lawsuits

Though current lawsuits target kidney-related injuries and past suits were about bone fractures, recent studies suggest PPIs may be responsible for other serious complications.

Recent studies have linked PPI use to an increased risk of strokeheart attack and gastric cancer in certain patients.

Side Effect Investigated Date of the Study What Researchers Found About PPI Users
Heart Attack June 2015 Heart attack rate increased from 16 to 21 percent according to a study in the journal PLOS One
Stroke November 2016 A study presented at the 2016 American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions found a 21 percent increased stroke risk
Gastric Cancer September 2017 A study published in the BMJ journal Gut found the risk of gastric cancer doubled for patients with previous Helicobacter pylori infections

No lawsuits have been filed over these side effects yet, but as more PPI research emerges, attorneys say more people injured by these drugs may seek compensation through the courts.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

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25 Cited Research Articles

  1. Ruffenach, S.J., et al. (1992). Acute Interstitial Nephritis Due to Omeprazole. Retrieved from
  2. Shah, N. H., et al. (2015, June 10). Proton Pump Inhibitor Usage and the Risk of Myocardial Infarction in the General Population. Retrieved from
  3. American Heart Association. (2016, November 15). Popular Heartburn Medication May Increase Ischemic Stroke Risk. Retrieved from
  4. Cheung, K.S., et al. (2017, September 18). Long-term Proton Pump Inhibitors and Risk of Gastric Cancer Development After Treatment for Helicobacter pylori: A Population-based Study. Retrieved from
  5. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2017, August 2). Transfer Order. Retrieved from
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  13. (2012, February 8). FDA Drug Safety Communication: Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea can be associated with stomach acid drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Retrieved from
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  18. Moylan, T. (2014, October 10). Entire Nexium MDL Closed After Expert Excluded; Defense Awarded Costs. Retrieved from
  19. Elliott, S. (2004, October 19). AstraZeneca Sued Over Advertising. Retrieved from
  20. U.S. Department of Justice. (2015, February 11). Astrazeneca to Pay $7.9 Million to Resolve Kickback Allegations. Retrieved from
  21. Armental, M. (2015, January 26). Teva: FDA Approves Generic Version of AstraZeneca Heartburn Drug. Retrieved from
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  23. U.S. Department of Justice. (2015, July 6). AstraZeneca and Cephalon to Pay $46.5 Million and $7.5 Million, Respectively, for Allegedly Underpaying Rebates Owed Under Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Retrieved from
  24. U.S. Department of Justice. (2012, December 12). Pfizer Agrees to Pay $55 Million for IllegallyPromoting Protonix for Off-Label Use. Retrieved from
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