Lawyers are getting closer to reaching a settlement for valsartan multidistrict litigation (MDL) plaintiffs who sued Hetero, an India-based pharmaceutical manufacturer representing a small number of cases in the MDL.

U.S. District Court Judge Renee M. Bumb, who is overseeing the litigation, has ordered both sides to finalize the settlement details by June 30. This current valsartan lawsuit settlement will affect a relatively small group of plaintiffs — the estimated 5% who sued Hetero.

Mass torts and personal liability attorney Daniel Nigh, national co-lead counsel for the valsartan MDL, explained to, “We have announced the Hetero valsartan class action settlements and the Hetero valsartan personal injury settlements, and we are working on getting court approval for the Hetero class action settlements and finalizing the Hetero personal injury settlements.”

Settlement Confusion Clarified

The court’s settlement order initially caused confusion, as it wasn’t clear whether the agreement applied to all cases in the MDL or just those involving Hetero. Counsel for many people who have filed valsartan lawsuits, Nigh Goldenberg Raso & Vaughn, clarified the order in a statement on its website.

“What the valsartan settlement order doesn’t make clear to an outsider is that the entire valsartan settlement order only applies to a single defendant — Hetero. It is important to understand that Hetero primarily manufactured losartan, which was also recalled for being contaminated with carcinogens,” the statement reads. 

“Simply put, the majority of the valsartan litigation is not settling and our valsartan attorneys continue to push forward to the first valsartan trial.”

Valsartan Contamination and Recall

In 2018, the FDA investigated claims that these generic blood pressure drugs, taken by approximately 3 million Americans annually, contained harmful carcinogens. 

The medication was briefly pulled from shelves when lab testing of several generic versions of the imported drug uncovered high levels of NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) and NDEA (N-nitrosodiethylamine). This led to a recall by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and caused significant concern among millions of patients who had unknowingly consumed the contaminated drugs. These impurities were linked to changes in manufacturing processes. 

After the recall, people began filing valsartan lawsuits against upwards of 20 different drug manufacturers and distributors. There are currently more than 1,200 active lawsuits in the valsartan MDL.

Although no trials have started yet, lawyers are hopeful that a trial date for the valsartan MDL will be set soon. Courts initially scheduled a trial for March, but it was later postponed. 

“We are hopeful to also have our trial date reset,” Nigh said.

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