Elmiron Lawsuit Attorneys

Our lawyers are reviewing Elmiron lawsuits for victims who have suffered maculopathy or other eye conditions as a result of the use of Elmiron. The purpose of this page is to provide

  1. information to patients with eye injuries on Elmiron of the connection between this drug and macular degeneration
  2. an update on the current status of the Elmiron lawsuits in the MDL (class action) and in state court
  3. information on what our lawyers believe to be the expected average settlement amount in the Elmiron class action lawsuit

There are now only 527 class action lawsuits filed as of September 15, 2021. Our Elmiron lawyers believe that number will soon be over 1,000 lawsuits.

[October 4, 2021 Update: The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created a new MDL class action for the consolidated handling of all Elmiron lawsuits in federal courts. 

The Elmiron MDL (In Re: Elmiron (Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium) Prod. Liab. Litigation, MDL 2973) was established in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey under Judge Brian Martinotti. Judge Martinotti is a seasoned class action judge. These eye injury and blindness claims have been proceeding in pre-trial discovery.

This week, on September 30, 2021, Judge Martinoitti had "Science Day" to allow Elmiron lawyers on both sides to educate the judge by providing an overview of the key medical and scientific issues pertinent to Elmiron and the plaintiffs' allegations of eye injuries and blindness.

As of September 2021, the Elmiron MDL class action had 527 individual pending cases. More Elmiron lawsuits pending in state courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Liaison counsel and steering committees have been selected for both the plaintiff and defense sides.

Judge Martinotti ordered the parties to prepare a bellwether test trial plan with the first Elmiron bellwether trial to be held in January 2023.

Yes, 18 months is a long way away. But getting a trial date is a big deal. Our Elmiron lawsuit attorneys' prediction - and it is just a prediction - is an Elmiron global settlement will occur before a single Elmiron lawsuit goes to trial. We believe these are very strong cases for the plaintiffs.]

New studies suggest that Elmiron causes retinal damage to the eyes. One study confirmed that Elmiron can cause a serious eye disease called maculopathy which can result in blindness in potentially one-fourth of the patients who took this drug.

This is a pretty staggering number, right? Our class action lawyers rarely see mass torts with a risk of injury as high as it is with Elmiron. Let's say this number is off by half. That would still be a tragic number of victims.

Anyone who used the drug Elmiron and has been diagnosed with maculopathy or other eye conditions may be entitled to financial compensation from the drug manufacturer. Our law firm is currently accepting new cases from anyone who used this prescription medication and has been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy, macular degeneration, or other conditions.

These lawsuits are growing quickly. The quirky thing about this litigation is that Elmiron users will often not link their vision issues to the drug. The cause of these vision loss injuries will often be misdiagnosed -- they have already been told by a doctor there was some other cause for the eye injury.

But when awareness of the side effects of Elmiron increases, the number of victims lawyers will see will increase accordingly.

What Is Elmiron?

Elmiron is the popular brand name of a drug called pentosan polysulfate sodium. Pentosan polysulfate belongs to a family of anticoagulant drugs known as low molecular weight herapins. Most drugs in this category are used as blood thinners, but Elmiron is used for the treatment of a condition called interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis (“IC”) is a bladder condition that causes chronic and pain and discomfort as well as urinary frequency. As many as 12 million people in the U.S. currently suffer from IC. Elmiron helps to treat the symptoms of IC by preventing irritation and swelling of the walls of the bladder. The drug is thought to function as a synthetic mucus layer around the bladder to guard against irritation.

Elmiron was developed and manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is a corporate subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Elmiron was first approved by the FDA back in 1996 and since then it has become the standard treatment option for individuals suffering from IC. Elmiron is also sometimes used to treat bladder pain associated with urinary tract infections.

Elmiron is still the only drug currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of IC-related bladder pain. Millions of people take it every day and Janssen has and continued to make a fortune from this drug.

But the question that will be the focus of this litigation is when did Janssen first learn of the risks of this drug. Janssen may be arguing at trial that it was the last to know. This will be a hard argument to sell, right?

Over 500 Elmiron lawsuits have been filed as of October 2021. More victims are hiring a lawyer. A class action MDL has just been created. There are many more Elmiron eye injury lawsuits coming in the months ahead. You should act now if you have an Elmiron claim.

There is also, parenthetically, some argument from some Elmiron lawyers that this drug is not an efficacious treatment for IC. They point to studies suggesting that Elmiron performs no better than placebo for some IC complications.

If this argument carries water, it underscores that the risk is hardly worth the benefits. But, either way, the case comes down to whether Elmiron's side effects require warning based on the information that was available that communicated the risk of a vision-related injury.

Evidence Links Elmiron to Serious Eye Damage

There is strong evidence that Elmiron causes an eye disorder called retinal maculopathy. Long-term exposure appears to increase the risks.

Since its initial release back in 1996, Elmiron has always been viewed as a relatively safe drug with few significant risks or serious side effects. All that has changed very drastically in the last year.

The discovery of Elmiron’s toxicity began in 2018 when doctors from the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Georgia started noticing a strange trend. They had 6 patients with abnormal damage to the macula region of their eyes and were diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy.

The doctors eventually realized that all of these patients were long-term users of the drug Elmiron. This led the Emory Eye Center to publish a preliminary report which suggested that Elmiron may be toxic to retinal tissue in the human eye.

This warning call immediately prompted a more detailed study into the safety of Elmiron and its potential toxicity to the eyes. This was done by a team of ophthalmologists in Northern California based on thousands of patient records. The alarming results of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in October 2019.

The study results showed very conclusively that Elmiron was very toxic to the sensitive retina tissue in the back of the eyes. About 25% of patients who used Elmiron displayed signs of maculopathy or significant eye damage.

Many of these victims already have partial or total loss of their vision. When these individuals were examined and tested, doctors found clear signs of drug toxicity related to their prolonged use of Elmiron.

October 2021 Update: Sometimes in lawsuits like these Elmiron claim, the scientific literature looks promising but turns in favor of the defendants. The medical literature in this case that is now coming out continues to support the arguments plaintiffs' Elmiron class action lawyers are making. A Northwestern University study looked at the presence of Elmiron-related maculopathy. Researchers examined the medical records of 131 Elmiron patients. Forty underwent imaging and 91 underwent fundus examinations.

The researchers' data revealed 10 patients with Elmiron-related maculopathy signs. Half of them underwent imaging, while the other half underwent fundus examinations. They also found that these 10 patients took Elmiron for an average of 4.2 years with an average cumulative dose of 380g.

The researchers inferred that imaging could detect Elmiron-related maculopathy. Which tells you... Elmiron can cause maculopathy.

What Type of Eye Condition Does Elmiron Cause?

Recent studies have linked prolonged use of Elmiron to maculopathy, which is also known as macular retinopathy. Maculopathy is a broad term for any disease or pathologic condition affecting the macula – the central region of the retina in the eye. The type of maculopathy directly associated with Elmiron is called pigmentary maculopathy.

However, macular damage from Elmiron can easily be misdiagnosed as age-related macular degeneration. Maculopathy can result in impairment or even loss of vision.

Elmiron Lawsuits for Vision Loss Maculopathy

Hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to Elmiron: the drug is still on the market.

The recent evidence showing that Elmiron causes serious eye damage is going to lead to a wave of lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer. If you took Elmiron and were subsequently diagnosed with eye problems involving the retina such as maculopathy the drug maker can be held liable for your injuries.

There is already sufficient evidence establishing a link between Elmiron and retinal damage to support a product liability lawsuit. Hundreds and possibly thousands of Elmiron vision loss lawsuits are expected to be filed against Janssen Pharmaceutical.

Our Lawyers Are Accepting New Elmiron Eye Damage Lawsuits

Our Elmiron lawyers are taking new Elmiron class action lawsuit cases for victims seeking compensation. We are looking for individuals suffering from side effects who meet the following basic criteria:

  1. You took Elmiron on a daily for 6-months or longer; and
  2. After using Elmiron you experienced vision problems and were diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
    1. Maculopathy/macular retinopathy
    2. Age-related macular degeneration
    3. Retinal dystrophy
    4. Other retinal conditions

If you or a family member meet these criteria, contact our law office today for a free consultation to find out if you qualify for an Elmiron eye injury lawsuit.

Will There Be an MDL Class Action for the Elmiron Lawsuits?

Plaintiffs' lawyers are in the discovery phase of the Elmiron eye damage litigation. 

Why are the number of claims growing so slowly when our Elmiron lawyers are saying there may the thousands of Elmiron lawsuits?  This is a good question and the answer is important. People are just starting to connect Elmiron to their vision-related injuries. So our attorneys are expecting several thousands of individual Elmiron eye damage lawsuits to get filed eventually.  Whether that comes to pass will remain to be seen. 

All Elmiron lawsuits in the federal court system are consolidated into an MDL class action.

An MDL is similar to a class action lawsuit. All pending cases from around the country involving a single defective drug or product are consolidated for litigation under a single federal judge for pretrial discovery.

Claim details and basic information is gathered and compiled for all of the plaintiffs. Then a few individual “test” cases will be selected for trial and the results of those trials are used to negotiate a global settlement of all the remaining cases. Usually, the settlement has tiers or levels of payments to plaintiffs based on the severity of their injuries.

In addition to Janssen, other defendants in this litigation include Teva, Bayer, Alza, Centocor, Ortho-McNeil, and IVAX.

Elmiron Timeline Lawsuits Potential Elmiron Lawsuit Settlement Compensation

Right now the first Elmiron eye damage lawsuits are just getting filed, so we have no way of knowing for sure what the Elmiron settlement amounts will be. But we can estimate the value of the Elmiron cases by comparing them to the settlement amounts of prior cases involving similar injuries.

Please keep in mind we are making a lot of assumptions here based on very little information. It is too early to accurately predict the expected settlement amounts of these vision loss lawsuits. But people want to know what the settlement compensation payout could be so we give our unvarnished opinion.

The victims in the Elmiron lawsuits will have the same basic injuries - vision impairment, macular degeneration, and loss of vision. The settlement value of vision loss or vision impairment injuries in other cases is a lens to the settlement values in the Elmiron litigation.

Based on this data, our Elmiron lawyers anticipate that cases in which the plaintiff suffered total vision loss may have a settlement value of $1,000,000 or more.

Is this speculation? Of course it is. We keep beating this drum - anything can happen in the litigation, it is still very early. But you do not need to be a class action lawyer for 25 years to understand that losing your vision is an awful injury that deserves a great deal of compensation if the defendants are culpable.

Elmiron cases involving only vision impairment will likely be grouped into tiers based on the level of impairment to the plaintiff’s vision. The most serious injuries will involve permanent vision loss.

Plaintiffs with the most extensive impairment to their vision (maybe 75%-80% impairment) will be in the top settlement tier (“tier 1). Plaintiffs with less impairment (40%-75%) will be in the next tier (“tier 2”) and there will likely be 2 or more lower tiers after that.

Based on average case values in other vision impairment lawsuits, we guess/believe that Elmiron vision loss impairment cases in tier 1 may have settlement value in the range of $300,000 to $600,000. Cases in tier 2 may have a settlement range somewhere between $75,000 and $250,000. Are these numbers realistic? Our law firm is particularly bullish on the value of these cases.

More Elmiron Eye Injury Medical Literature
  • 2021: Kalbag NS, et. al: Maculopathy Secondary to Pentosan Polysulfate Use: A Single-Center Experience. Clin Ophthalmol. 2021;15:513-519
  • 2020: Doiron, RC, et. al: Possible drug-induced, vision-threatening maculopathy secondary to chronic pentosan polysulfate sodium (Elmiron®) exposure, Can Urol Assoc J. 2020 Feb; 14(2): 10–11, doi: 10.5489/cuaj.6401. This 2020 article, which came out after the Elmiron litigation, summarizes the literature and underscores the risks of newly understood risks of the drug.
  • 2019: Jain N, et. al: Association of macular disease with long-term use of pentosan polysulfate sodium: Findings from a U.S. cohort. Br J Ophthalmol. 2019 Nov 6; doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2019-314765
  • 2018: Pearce, WA, et. al: Pigmentary Maculopathy Associated with Chronic Exposure to Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium, 2018 Nov;125(11):1793-1802. doi: 10.1016. This study found unique pigmentary maculopathy in six patients taking pentosan polysulfate sodium. This is the article that set off alarms in the medical and scientific community we talked about above.
Elmiron NJ State Court Lawsuits (October 2021 Update)

Most Elmiron lawsuits have been filed in (or removed to) federal court and consolidated into the Elmiron MDL. 

Recently, a growing number of Elmiron cases are being brought in the state courts in New Jersey. The maker of Elmiron, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is based in New Jersey so these cases cannot be removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. 

In September 2021, lawyers for a group of 20 Elmiron plaintiffs filed a petition for the consolidation of all Elmiron cases in NJ state courts in a new Multicounty Litigation (MCL). 

This is the state court equivalent of an MDL and would involved consolidated pretrial proceedings before a single judge.  

FAQs: Elmiron Lawsuits

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about the Elmiron eye damage lawsuits.

Can Elmiron cause blindness?

Use of Elmiron can cause blindness in certain patients. It was recently discovered that extended use of Elmiron can cause a very unique type of eye condition called pigmentary maculopathy that can cause vision impairment and complete blindness.

Do I qualify for an Elmiron lawsuit?

We spell out the Elmiron lawsuit criteria above. Anyone who has been diagnosed with pigmentary maculopathy after taking the prescription injection drug Elmiron is eligible to bring an Elmiron injury lawsuit. Even if you have not been diagnosed with this specific condition you may still qualify if you took Elmiron and subsequently suffered vision impairment or blindness.

What is the status of the Elmiron lawsuit?

Right now individual Elmiron lawsuits are still being filed by plaintiffs around the country. All pending Elmiron suits in federal courts have been consolidated into an MDL in New Jersey and will undergo a collective process of civil discovery. (So if you file a case in federal court in, for example, California, it will be transferred to New Jersey.) Once this discovery phase ends test trials will be held and used to facilitate global settlement discussions.

How much of a settlement compensation payout can Elmiron victims expect? 

Elmiron lawsuits could have a very high settlement value because of the serious nature of the injuries. Claims from Elmiron plaintiffs with total vision loss could be worth close to $1,000,000.

Contact Us About Elmiron Eye Damage Lawsuits

If you believe your vision was lost or impaired because you used this drug, call our Elmiron attorneys today at 800-553-8082 to discuss your legal options. You can also get a free case evaluation online.

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