Valsartan Lawsuit: What You Need to Know
October 12, 2023 | Product Liability
Valsartan, also known as Diovan, is a generic blood pressure medication. It was once one of the most popular prescription drugs on the U.S. market. Although it is still in use, it has been the subject of massive personal injury litigation due to a carcinogenic impurity that contaminated certain batches of the drug. Litigation is ongoing as of October 2023.
The Uses of Valsartan
Valsartan is a prescription-only drug that remains popular despite all of the controversy surrounding it.
Doctors use Valsartan to treat the following conditions:
- Congestive heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Kidney malfunction
Valsartan is not a “one-and-done” medication. Instead, doctors typically prescribe it for long-term use. Although that pattern of usage is a testimony to its effectiveness, it also magnifies the risks involved when a manufacturing defect results in the contamination of large batches of the drug.
The FDA Recall of Valsartan
The FDA determined that contaminated batches of Valsartan made their way to the U.S. The contaminants include the chemicals NDMA, NDEA, and NMBA. Contaminated batches came from China and India—more specifically, from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals company and Hetero Labs Limited. Distressingly enough, NDMA is used in rocket fuel.
Researchers have associated these substances with the following health risks:
- Colon cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Intestinal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Liver damage
- Pancreatic cancer
- Stomach cancer
On July 13, 2018, the FDA announced a recall of some batches of Valsartan. On November 21, 2018, the FDA also announced a recall of certain pharmaceuticals containing Valsartan.
Proving Product Liability in a Valsartan Lawsuit
A product liability lawsuit is filed against someone for harm caused by a defective product. Strict liability is the most popular form of product liability. You don’t need to prove negligence to win a product liability claim—under strict product liability, no proof of fault is necessary. Instead, you must prove the existence of an unreasonably dangerous product defect.
The defect in question could be a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or a labeling defect. The contaminated batches of Valsartan contained a manufacturing defect.
The Lack of the Need to Prove Fault Allows You to Sue Anyone in the Product’s Chain of Distribution
This flexibility is critical in the Valsartan lawsuit. Fault appears to lie with a Chinese company and an Indian company that lack significant U.S.-based assets. Accordingly, they are largely judgment-proof.
However, because you can sue anyone in the product’s chain of distribution, you can sue U.S. distributors, such as Walgreens and CVS–which is exactly what the plaintiffs did.
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a special federal legal procedure designed to handle situations where large numbers of lawsuits are filed in many different states with important facts in common. Typically, federal courts use MDL in mass tort cases–when a product, such as a defective pharmaceutical, injures thousands of people across the United States.
MDL deals with this situation by consolidating many different individual cases (typically filed in state courts) into a single case in a single federal court. In pretrial proceedings such as discovery, this case resolves certain factual issues that all of the cases have in common, such as whether the plaintiffs were exposed to toxic chemicals. The goal of MDL is efficiency in litigation.
Once these facts have been determined, the plaintiffs can return to state court to resolve issues that are unique to their particular cases. Plaintiffs have a choice about whether they want to join MDL in the first place—they don’t have to if they don’t want to.
Valsartan Lawsuits: Current Legal Status (September 2023)
The U.S. District Court of New Jersey has consolidated over 1,000 cases into an MDL action. None have been decided or settled yet. Many other cases are still pending in the various state courts.
How Much Is My Valsartan Claim Worth?
It is impossible to say with certainty exactly how much a claim is worth without knowing specifics. Moreover, there is no guarantee that your particular claim will win, which it will need to do for you to win any money at all.
Nevertheless, as a ballpark estimate, successful Valsartan claims could be worth between $150,00 to $200,000. Even if this result is reasonably accurate, it is only an average, and individual results will vary.
Talk to a Product Liability Lawyer If You Suspect You Have a Valsartan Claim
Participating in a mass tort lawsuit with so many victims is no time to decide you’re going to be your own attorney. If you want to be taken seriously, you absolutely must seek the assistance of an experienced product liability attorney.
Contact Our Product Liability Law Firm in San Antonio, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Antonio, Texas, and need legal help, contact our San Antonio Product Liability lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.