The Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit that No One is Talking About

These days, Johnson & Johnson seems to be dealing with a multitude of significant legal issues. From (allegedly) cancer-causing baby powder (1), questionable anti-psychotic drugs (2), and the opioid epidemic (3), there are many reasons why people might want to sue this pharmaceutical giant. Investors even tried to sue J&J for “tainted” vaccines (4). But there is one more lawsuit that is mostly going unnoticed, and it definitely deserves its fair share of attention.

This MDL involves a J&J drug called Elmiron (5). This medication is intended to treat bladder issues, but it is causing severe side-effects that have the potential to irrevocably alter peoples’ lives. Today, there are more than 600 people suing Johnson & Johnson for injuries caused by this drug, and it could prove to be quite problematic for this major corporation — especially when you consider the fact that the company seems to be drowning in lawsuits in the modern era.

What is Elmiron?

Elmiron is a drug sold under J&J’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. This medication is intended to treat interstitial cystitis, which can cause severe bladder pain. The drug contained an active ingredient called pentosan polysulfate sodium, or PPS for short. In 2018, a study documented a link between PPS and pigmentary maculopathy. Pigmentary maculopathy can cause blurred vision, reduced night vision, loss of color perception, and blindness in one or both eyes. Dark spots are also common.

Many plaintiffs have alleged that they have suffered retina damage due to prolonged use of Elmiron, and there are now more than 600 individuals who have sued J&J for product liability. The claim is now being brought forth as an MDL — otherwise known as a multidistrict litigation. One woman in New Hampshire is seeking $10 million for eye damage after taking Elmiron, and there are hundreds of others who are seeking similar settlement awards within this MDL.

Crucially, the lawsuit claims that Janssen became aware of the fact that its drug caused eye damage way back in 1996, but continued to market and sell the medication despite the obvious health risks. If the plaintiffs can prove that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the danger, recovering a settlement will be relatively straightforward.

It is also worth noting that Elmiron is the only FDA-approved medication for interstitial cystitis, which means that patients didn’t even have the option to explore other potential drugs. Why the FDA approved this medication is another unanswered question.

Is Johnson & Johnson’s Reputation Being Damaged?

One has to wonder whether Johnson & Johnson can realistically continue after facing so many lawsuits. These lawsuits are obviously damaging the company’s reputation to some extent, and it remains to be seen whether consumers will continue to trust their products. When people see these products on the shelves, they might immediately think of the controversial lawsuits, and they may decide to choose another brand that isn’t associated with things ingredients that allegedly cause cancer, blindness, and other effects.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2021/06/02/johnson–johnson-faces-another-crisis-after-supreme-court-decision/?sh=3230cee91579
  2. https://www.ft.com/content/d1c2b9c4-ea1c-11e9-a240-3b065ef5fc55
  3. https://www.addictioncenter.com/news/2021/11/465m-johnson-johnson-opioid-lawsuit-overturned/
  4. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/securities-law/emergent-faces-investor-suit-on-baltimore-vaccine-plant-problems
  5. https://medtruth.com/articles/legal-developments/10-million-eye-damage-lawsuit-joins-elmiron-mdl/

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Image License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

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