Tepezza (teprotumumab) is a prescription medication used to treat a specific eye condition called thyroid eye disease (TED). TED is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects people with thyroid problems, such as Graves’ disease.
Tepezza is an antibody that works by targeting a protein called insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), which is believed to play a role in the development of TED. By blocking the IGF-1R, Tepezza helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the tissues surrounding the eyes.
Clinical trials have shown that Tepezza can be effective in treating symptoms of TED. It has been found to reduce inflammation and improve the appearance and function of the eyes in many patients. However, the drug has not been without scandal and is currently facing several lawsuits.
What is the Tepezza Lawsuit About?
Tepezza was launched at the start of 2020 by the pharmaceutical company “Horizon Therapeutics.” Unfortunately, barely a year had passed, and there were already reports of people experiencing hearing loss after using the drug.
The first Tepezza lawsuit filed against Horizon Therapeutics was in August of 2022 by one Daniel Weibel from Arizona. He claimed to experience hearing loss for a few months after using Tepezza in 2020. Studies were soon made on the side effects of the drug and the link to hearing loss was undeniable.
A small study by Stanford even found the incidence of hearing loss to be 65%. This was a percentage far greater than the 10% that Horizon Therapeutics claimed. The hearing loss ranged from temporary loss, and tinnitus to more extreme, permanent hearing damage and deafness.
As expected, several other users of the drug started to become aware that their hearing loss could be related to Tepezza. The Tepezza Lawsuit situation started to escalate, and Horizon Therapeutics has been fighting things out in court ever since.
What is the Latest Update on the Lawsuit?
In the last week, over ten new lawsuits have been filed against the pharmaceutical company, adding to the long list of people seeking compensation. TorHoerman Law recently released an update with new information. In their update, we learn that the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation will decide by 25th May if the Tepezza Lawsuit needs to be consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
What Does Multidistrict Litigation Mean?
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) refers to a legal process where multiple individual lawsuits that share similar factual or legal issues are consolidated and centralized before a single federal district court.
This consolidation allows for more efficient handling of pretrial proceedings, such as discovery and motions, while preserving the individuality of each case. MDL is often used for complex cases, such as those involving product liability, mass torts, or large-scale litigation, where numerous plaintiffs have filed similar claims against one or more defendants.
Once pretrial proceedings are completed, individual cases may be remanded back to their original jurisdiction for trial or resolved through settlement negotiations.
How Are Things Going for Horizon Therapeutics?
It is quite likely that those who can prove a clear link between their hearing loss and the drug, Tepezza will receive compensation. However, Horizon Therapeutics is likely to fight the case by trying to downplay the severity and scale of side effects.
The company is currently trying to oppose the lawsuit consolidation by claiming there is a lack of cases. They argue that of the 19 plaintiffs, the majority (15) are represented by a single law firm.
The company also had a mild win for Tepezza in April when the FDA approved new wording that touts its FDA approval status for the treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). This comes after the drug achieved statistically significant results in Phase 4 Clinical trials in the context of treating TED.
Despite the hearing loss controversy, Horizon Therapeutics closed 2022 with double-digit net sales growth, a net sales of $942 million. First-quarter sales for 2023 were also strong with double-digit growth once again and net sales of $832.1 million.
It will be interesting to see how Amgen, the company that recently bought Horizon Therapeutics for $27.8 billion, handles future controversy with Tepezza. Despite the hearing loss side effects, the drug has become widely popular due to its effectiveness in treating TED.
It is likely that Amgen / Horizon Therapeutics will continue to back the drug and continue to push for its increased adoption. Hopefully, those affected by it are given the compensation they deserve, and new/improved formulations of Tepezza reduce or remove the severe side effects.