Valsartan (Diovan) is a popular prescription drug used primarily to treat high blood pressure, strokes, congestive heart failure, and diabetic kidney disease. At one point, it was one of the most popular pharmaceuticals on the market. 

In recent years, however, the popularity of Valsartan has waned due to the publicity surrounding thousands of lawsuits alleging that certain batches of Valsartan contain carcinogenic impurities.

The History of Valsartan Litigation

In 1997 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the use of Valsartan in the United States. Since then, Valsartan has been used by millions of people in over 150 nations. When patent protection expired in September 2012, various companies began manufacturing and marketing generic Valsartan. 

Some of the companies marketing generic Valsartan outsourced manufacturing to companies in China and India. In July 2018, a Chinese manufacturer discovered that its supply had been contaminated with the known carcinogen NDMA. The consumption of NMDA has been associated with an increased risk of various forms of cancer, including:

  • Colon cancer,
  • Esophageal cancer,
  • Gastrointestinal cancer,
  • Intestinal cancer,
  • Kidney cancer,
  • Liver cancer,
  • Pancreatic cancer, and
  • Stomach cancer.

Circumstances indicated that these carcinogens were probably present in batches sold in the United States and Europe since at least 2014. Since doctors typically prescribe Valsartan for long-term use, it seems likely that many Valsartan users were exposed to large amounts of NDMA. Subsequently, one more Chinese supplier and an Indian supplier discovered NMDA in their products. 

FDA Recall

In 2018 the FDA recalled all batches of generic Valsartan that might have contained NMDA. It is important to remember, however, that not all batches of Valsartan contained NMDA.

Initial Litigation

After the FDA recall, Valsartan lawsuits began piling up in US state courts. The lawsuits were typically based on strict product liability. Defendants include drug manufacturers, retailers, drug stores, and other related parties.  

How Product Liability Claims Work

A product liability claim arises when someone suffers an injury caused by a product that is defective and unreasonably dangerous. New York law recognizes three types of product defects–design defects, manufacturing defects, and labeling defects. Valsartan, for example, suffered a manufacturing defect. 

You can win a strict product liability claim without even proving that the defendant was at fault. This fact is critical to Valsartan lawsuits, since the Chinese and Indian manufacturers own few assets in the US. Instead of suing foreign manufacturers, plaintiffs sued local distributors even though they were not at fault for the contamination.  

How Multidistrict Litigation Works

The multitude of Valsartan lawsuits that flooded US state courts all contained similar facts and issues, raising the prospect of redundant litigation. For the sake of efficiency, the federal judiciary consolidated the litigation as Multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District Court of New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler. 

MDL combines litigation of the discovery and pretrial stages of litigation so that they undergo litigation once instead of thousands of times. The federal court will dismiss some of these cases as meritless, attempt to settle as many as possible, and send the remainder back to the original state courts from which they came. In this manner, MDL greatly reduces the volume of litigation needed to resolve over 1,000 cases. 

As of October 2023, over 1,200 Valsartan lawsuits were still pending. At this point, there had been no settlements and no jury verdicts. These cases are still ongoing, but lawyers expect significant progress by the end of 2023. 

How Much is My Claim Worth?

Factors that will influence the value of your Valsartan claim are likely to include:

  • The extent and duration of the injuries and losses that you suffered;
  • The effect that your Valsartan injury had on your overall physical and mental health and well-being;
  • The past, present, and anticipated future pain and suffering and emotional distress that you suffered in the past on account of your use of Valsartan.
  • The amount of any past, present, and anticipated future medical expenses necessitated by the side effects of Valsartan.
  • Any lost wages or diminished earning capacity that you suffered as an indirect consequence of your use of Valsartan.

Average payouts could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Contact Our Product Liability Law Firm in New York City

If you have a valid Valsartan claim, you might qualify for a large personal injury award. Since Valsartan litigation has been ongoing for quite some time, however, you need to move promptly so that you don’t miss out on a potentially lucrative settlement. Contact our New York City personal injury lawyers at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007