Published Date: February 6, 2024
In a significant development for plaintiffs involved in Suboxone Film mass tort litigation, a recent order has consolidated multiple cases into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio. The order was issued in response to a Motion for Transfer and Coordination under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, and it marks a crucial step forward in streamlining these complex legal proceedings.
The cases, which have been consolidated under MDL No. 3092, are collectively known as “In re: Suboxone Film Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.” Plaintiffs in these actions allege various product liability claims against the defendants responsible for designing, manufacturing, and marketing Suboxone Film, a prescription drug used in the treatment of opioid use disorder.
The primary focus of the plaintiffs’ claims revolves around several key issues:
- Acidic Formulation: Plaintiffs assert that Suboxone Film’s inclusion of citric acid and sodium citrate as buffers with a low pH of 3.5, designed to maximize buprenorphine absorption and minimize naloxone absorption, has led to dental erosion and decay in users.
- Switch to Film Form: Defendants switched from Suboxone tablets to Suboxone Film, allegedly to stymie generic competition and extend market exclusivity under the pretext of child safety concerns.
- Delay in Warning: Plaintiffs claim that the defendants were aware of the dental decay risk associated with Suboxone but did not issue adequate warnings until mandated by the FDA in June 2022.
The order for consolidation recognizes that these Suboxone Film actions share common questions of fact and law, including issues related to design defects, failure to provide adequate warnings and instructions, and negligent conduct leading to plaintiffs’ injuries. These commonalities justify the coordination of these cases for efficient pretrial proceedings.
The Northern District of Ohio has been chosen as the most suitable venue for the MDL, given its central location, accessibility, and experience in handling complex litigation. Judge J. Philip Calabrese, known for his expertise and efficient docket management, has been selected to preside over the MDL.
Consolidating these cases in one jurisdiction will streamline discovery processes, prevent inconsistent rulings, and save resources for all parties involved. With 15 Suboxone Film actions already pending in five different districts and more expected nationwide, this MDL will serve as a pivotal mechanism for achieving justice and efficient resolution for the plaintiffs.
As this MDL progresses, plaintiffs and their legal teams can now look forward to a more organized and structured approach to pursuing their claims against the defendants. This development signifies a crucial step toward addressing the alleged wrongdoings related to Suboxone Film and providing justice to those who have suffered as a result.