J&J, Janssen Hit with $10M Lawsuit for Eye Damage Caused by Elmiron

The product defect suit filed Jan. 10 joins more than 600 similar claims consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey federal court on behalf of patients who suffered retina damage and vision problems after using Elmiron for treatment of interstitial cystitis, which causes chronic bladder pain.

“J&J and Janssen looked the other way when reports started coming in about Elmiron’s dangers,” said Houston trial lawyer Mark Lanier, founder of the Lanier Law Firm, who serves on the Elmiron MDL plaintiffs’ executive committee. “We’re looking forward to asking a jury to hold the accountable and to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”

According to the lawsuit, Janssen was aware of reports soon after Elmiron went on the market in 1996. Clinical studies starting in 2018 documented a link between Elmiron’s key ingredients, pentosan polysulfate sodium or PPS, and a condition known as pigmentary maculopathy. Yet a warning label was not placed on the drug until 2020.

PPS is the only known cause of pigmentary maculopathy, which is often misdiagnosed as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy. Side effects include dark spots in the vision field, difficulty reading or adjusting to dim lighting, loss of color perception, persistent eye strain during reading and other activities, blurred vision and blindness.

The injuries suffered by Beverly Frizzell were “preventable and resulted directly from Defendants’ failure and refusal to conduct proper safety studies, failure to properly assess and publicize safety signals, suppression of information revealing serious risks, willful and wanton failure to provide adequate instructions, and willful misrepresentations concerning the nature and safety of Elmiron,” the lawsuit states.

The case is In Re: Elmiron MDL No. 2973.


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