December 12, 2014 — Federal judges have refused plaintiffs’ request to centralize 25 lawsuits involving withdrawal side effects of Cymbalta into one court.
According to the order (PDF) issued by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on December 10, judges agreed that the lawsuits were highly similar.
However, the motion was denied for three reasons:
- Widely-varying procedural status, with many recently-filed actions “still in their infancy.
- The discovery process was nearly complete in some cases, with Eli Lilly producing over 2 million documents.
- All of the plaintiffs are represented by just two law firms, suggesting that it would be practical for lawyers to coordinate informally.
Eli Lilly & Co., the manufacturer of Cymbalta, is accused of downplaying or concealing information about withdrawal risks, while overstating its benefits.
The label warned that withdrawal occurred in at least 1% of patients. However, clinical trials put this number closer to 44-50% of patients, and 10% of cases were “severe.”
The original label stated that “stopping an antidepressant medicine suddenly can cause other symptoms,” but did not elaborate. Many users have reported feeling like they were “hooked” on Cymbalta because withdrawal symptoms were so severe they could not stop taking the medication.