SCHAUMBURG, Illinois — The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), a 54,000 member strong organization of physicians and researchers in the field of anesthesiology, and publisher of Anesthesiology, the country’s leading scientific journal in the field, filed a formal request today asking New Jersey Federal Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to convene a case management conference as soon as possible in the lawsuit Pacira Biosciences filed on April 14 against ASA and 12 physicians and researchers.
Pacira claims it was “libeled” in two articles and an editorial in the February 2021 issue of Anesthesiology that reported findings about the cost and clinical benefits of Pacira’s prescription pain medication, Exparel (liposomal bupivacaine), as compared to regular bupivacaine and other non-opioids. As ASA explained to the Court, the articles and editorial were all subject to anonymous peer-review before publishing.
ASA’s request emphasized that defendants seek a prompt and thorough rejection, by mid-July, of Pacira’s motion to remove the articles from ASA’s web site, and continued:
Defendants stand behind these three works and the integrity and scholarship of all who contributed to them. The authors are leading physicians and researchers in the fields of anesthesiology and clinical studies [and] have published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles in medical and scientific journals.
To get any relief, Pacira must show harm to its “reputation.” There, ASA’s filing noted:
Defendants dispute that the research papers or the editorial could have caused any reputational harm to Pacira or Exparel, even if actionable, given that: (a) an avalanche of prior studies have found Exparel to provide no clinical benefit when compared to regular bupivacaine or other non-opioid local anesthetics, (b) Pacira has been the subject of shareholder litigation over management’s statements and conduct, and (c) Pacira paid millions of dollars last year to settle an Exparel-related False Claims Act case (that the Department of Justice itself chose to prosecute) involving “kickbacks” Pacira paid to get doctors to prescribe the drug.
ASA and the co-authors are represented by Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
About The American Society of Anesthesiologists:
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. The ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during, and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
The filing is available here: https://www.asahq.org/-/media/sites/asahq/files/public/advocacy/other/letter-brief-iso-motion.pdf.
For more information, contact Theresa Hill at ASA ([email protected]).