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Tepezza, or Teprotumumab, is a drug produced by Horizon Therapeutics as a treatment option for thyroid eye disease (TED). This autoimmune condition is considered to be debilitating, affecting the fatty tissues and muscles behind the patient’s eye.
Tepezza emerged as a breakthrough in TED treatment, receiving its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in January 2020. It can offer multi-symptom relief for eye pain, redness, and bulging. Despite being recommended as a prescription medicine, the drug has been accused of severe notoriety.
The scenario has reached a point where lawsuits have been filed against the drug’s manufacturer. In this article, we will discuss the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit in detail exploring whether the quest for justice has met an expected end.
Grounds for Litigation Filing
Tepezza is usually administered in the form of an injection over a few weeks. Patients who received this drug complained of developing auditory issues. These include partial or permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing sensation in the ear), a feeling of fullness in the ears, patulous eustachian tube, and sensorineural hearing damage.
To qualify for a Tepezza lawsuit filing, the plaintiff must prove the following –
- A history free of any hearing issues before Tepezza infusion treatment
- Having received at least one or more rounds of Tepezza treatment for TED
- A medical diagnosis proving tinnitus or hearing loss due to Tepezza infusions
Number of Filed Cases and Potential Class Action
The first-ever lawsuit in this litigation was filed in August 2022 by an Arizona man called Daniel Weibel. He complained of developing permanent hearing loss as a result of Tepezza treatment.
As per Weibel’s lawsuit, the defendant was fully aware of the health risks associated with the drug yet failed to issue adequate warnings. It was found that Tepezza’s post-marketing clinical trials revealed that only 10% of the total trial subjects displayed hearing issues.
Later, a study by the Endocrine Society showed that as much as 65% of the test subjects showcased auditory symptoms. Even the FDA was partially to blame for hasty market approval. Horizon has been defending itself, stating that the side effects of its drug are over-hyped.
However, a new class-action multi-district litigation (MDL) was consolidated in June 2023. Around 41 cases were made a part of this consolidation, which alleged that the manufacturer failed to warn patients and physicians of the side effects (despite being aware). Horizon was accused of keeping profits over patients.
Current Status of the Lawsuit
According to TorHoerman Law, no settlements have been made yet in the Tepezza litigation. However, it should not take too long since this lawsuit does not involve tens of thousands of cases. To date, there have been only 54 cases filed against Horizon Therapeutics.
Attorneys are expecting the volume of cases to pick up in the upcoming months. The plaintiff’s counsel is also optimistic about the strength of each case consolidated into the MDL. Depending upon the US state of the plaintiff, they have two to four years from the date of complications to file a Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit.
As of now, a meaningful status conference for the lawsuit has been held. Also, Judge Tomas Durkin has issued a case management order that lays down all rules and regulations affecting the Bellwether selection process.
The first trial will likely start by early 2024. The Judge has asked both parties to select 4 cases each for the Bellwether discovery pool. However, 12 cases in total must be chosen within 60 days. The remaining four will be selected on a random basis.
Once the cases are sorted out, attorneys on both sides will conduct the crucial fact-discovery for each case. This stage aims to ensure both parties get to choose cases that secure their chances of winning.
Though no exact settlement amounts can be provided given the litigation’s current status, lawyers expect fair payouts. On average, a successful Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit is expected to be settled between $140,000 and $250,000.
The Way Forward
Plaintiffs are eagerly waiting for a fair settlement to be made in the upcoming Bellwether trials of the litigation. The compensation amount for individual cases will depend on the plaintiff’s age, non-existence of prior hearing issues, permanence or severity of the injuries, impact on quality of life, and loss of wages or medical expenses involved.
Another question that the public has regarding Tepezza is whether the drug will be recalled, at least after settlements have been made. As of now, that seems highly unlikely. This is because Tepezza is the first and only FDA-approved drug for TED treatment.
Also, this drug targets the cause of TED as opposed to just the symptoms, making it potent. Perhaps there may be changes in dosage to ensure minimal side effects. However, it’s difficult to speak with any surety as of now.