The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation struggled Jan. 26 during a hearing in Miami to devise a structure for consolidating a “nightmarishly complex” batch of lawsuits stemming from alleged kidney injuries caused by proton pump inhibitors, a class of drugs that includes Nexium and Prilosec, according to

The widespread use — via prescription and over-the-counter products — of these drugs to prevent or treat gastric acid conditions means there could be hundreds, if not thousands, of cases filed in coming months, and litigation is complicated by the variety of products available and patients’ having used multiple drugs during the course of treatment.

There were 15 cases pending in 12 federal districts when plaintiffs filed for consolidation in October. That number is now up to about 100, half of which have been filed this month, and plaintiffs’ counsel said they have more than 5,000 possible cases they are investigating.

Consolidation is opposed by the defendants, who include industry giants such as AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, which made the brand-name drugs Nexium and Prilosec; Prevacid maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; and Pfizer Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., which hold licenses to distribute over-the-counter Nexium and Prilosec products.

Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec are all a class of drug known as proton-pump inhibitors. Unfortunately, there has been concern over additional dangerous side effects that may be associated with the use of proton pump inhibitors. Research conducted over the last decade has brought about concern regarding PPIs and the effect they have on the heart, kidneys and mental health. Heart Attack, dementia, kidney injury and bone fractures are some of the most serious complications believed to be associated with proton pump inhibitors.

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WARNING: There are strict time deadlines for filing proton pump inhibitor lawsuit claims.