Levaquin, a popular antibiotic manufactured by Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has been recently linked to some very serious side effects. One of the side effects Levaquin has been linked to is peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when there is damage to the peripheral nervous system, leading to symptoms such as tingling and numbness, usually in the hands or feet.
Although originally believed to be a rare, controllable side effect by manufacturers of fluoroquinolones (like Levaquin) as well as the FDA, the FDA issued a safety communication in 2013 noting that symptoms of the condition can be permanent, and have the potential to last even after a person stops using the drug. After the FDA issued their safety communication, consumers began filing lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson alleging that their peripheral neuropathy was caused by Levaquin.
In the lawsuits currently pending against Johnson and Johnson, plaintiffs are alleging that the manufacturers of fluoroquinolones (including Johnson and Johnson) downplayed the reports they received from consumers stating they had symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Plaintiffs are also alleging that the manufacturers of the drugs stated the nerve problems would go away after usage of the drug was discontinued. The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are also alleging that if Johnson and Johnson had warned them of the potential side effects, they would not have taken Levaquin.
In May of 2015, a motion to transfer all the pending cases against Johnson and Johnson into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for consistent pretrial proceedings was filed. Later that year, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted the motion, and transferred all the pending Levaquin cases into an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota under Judge John R. Tunheim. The pending Levaquin cases were transferred to Minnesota due to the fact that Judge Tunheim had handled a previous Levaquin MDL.
There are over 350 lawsuits currently pending in the MDL against Johnson and Johnson, with hundreds more predicted in the future due to the number of people that have been prescribed the medication.