A U.S. District Judge in Pennsylvania has blocked claims filed as a class action lawsuit brought forth against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson company, and manufacturer of the drug for interstitial cystitis (aka ‘’IC’ or painful bladder syndrome’), Elmiron.
As of November, 2020, there have been at least 80 Elmiron lawsuits filed. Plaintiffs allege that the drug causes irreversible eye damage. Approved in 1996, Elmiron is the only FDA-cleared medication for IC. Recent research studies show that Elmiron may cause retinal damage, macular degeneration, and possibly, irreversible blindness.
What makes the class action lawsuit (Almond v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals) blocked by the judge in Pennsylvania different is that none of the claimants has thus far experienced eye damage.
The motivation behind this class action shares similarities with 500 individual claims filed against Zantac manufacturers. Zantac plaintiffs have filed claims against makers of the popular heartburn remedy and drug stores that sell it because ranitidine, the main active compound in the drug, is contaminated with a cancer-causing substance (NDMA). None of the 500 plaintiffs have yet to be diagnosed with cancer caused by NDMA. However, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for future medical expenses that will arise from increased medical monitoring to detect cancer.
Likewise, plaintiffs in Almond v. Janssen are seeking compensation for future medical monitoring. But according to Law.com, the judge blocked the class action from being filed in Pennsylvania because “the law of the state in which the patient was prescribed and took Elmiron is the law that applies,” the judge wrote in an opinion. The judge also disagreed with arguments from plaintiff attorneys that Pennsylvania’s approach to “no-injury” medical monitoring claims applied regardless of residency.