Oral arguments to consolidate Suboxone lawsuits into a single multidistrict litigation are set for Jan. 25, 2024. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation announced on Dec. 15 that it will entertain motions from both plaintiffs and Suboxone maker Indivior to combine all Suboxone lawsuits against the company. 

The oral arguments are scheduled for the panel’s January hearing in Santa Barbara, California.

Both Sides Support Consolidation

In mid-November, plaintiffs’ attorneys proposed centralizing all Suboxone lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. 

Indivior has faced a rising tide of lawsuits over dental injuries blamed on its drug for treating opioid addiction. In court documents, the company agreed on Dec. 6 to support the multidistrict litigation, which would allow the company to consolidate its defenses in a single court.

Currently, 15 claims are dispersed across five U.S. district courts, with most located in the Northern District of Ohio.

After the Jan. 25 hearing, the panel will decide whether to move the Suboxone cases to a single court and appoint a judge to oversee the litigation. 

If the panel decides to create a multidistrict litigation for Suboxone, it will allow coordinated discovery and potential bellwether trials. The trials, in turn, may result in verdicts or lead to a global settlement. Unresolved cases will go back to their original district courts to be tried individually.

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Link Between Tooth Decay and Suboxone Lawsuits

According to an FDA Drug Safety Communication, dental side effects of Suboxone include cavities, oral infections, tooth decay and loss of teeth — even in people with no prior history of dental problems. Suboxone lawsuits claim that Indivior failed to adequately warn users of the associated risks.

When the FDA approved Suboxone in 2002 for treating opioid addiction, it was available only in tablet form. The subsequent release of Suboxone film allowed users to place it under their tongue. However, it has acidic properties that, with prolonged use, may contribute to dental injuries. 

It wasn’t until early 2022 that Suboxone tooth decay warnings were added after the FDA identified over 300 cases of dental problems linked to the drug.

In response, the FDA issued recommendations to prescribers and users, emphasizing oral health strategies when utilizing the film version of Suboxone. These strategies include referrals to dental care services and regular checkups during treatment.