Newswise — The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is pleased that Pacira Biosciences appeared before a federal magistrate judge on May 7, 2021, and withdrew its motion for a preliminary injunction to force Anesthesiology to retract two papers and an editorial concerning EXPAREL, published in the February 2021 issue.

That reversal comes just three weeks after Pacira sued ASA, Anesthesiology and 12 physicians, alleging the drug company was “libeled” in two articles and an editorial that reported findings about the cost and claimed clinical benefits of Pacira’s prescription pain medication, EXPAREL (liposomal bupivacaine), as compared to regular bupivacaine and other non-opioids. ASA stands by the articles in Anesthesiology, its premier, peer-reviewed scientific journal. 

Although Pacira started this lawsuit, ASA will not shy away from refuting Pacira’s claims and from exposing the important issues with Pacira’s controversial drug.

Pacira’s quick abandonment of its motion for preliminary injunction, an unusual move, came in response to an April 29 ASA motion, which asked the court to schedule a prompt hearing on Pacira’s injunction motion. ASA requested expedited depositions and document productions from Pacira and its witnesses to expose flaws in Pacira’s claims. ASA and its co-defendants also asked the court to let them file a full response to Pacira’s retraction motion by mid-June and return to court in mid-July for oral argument. Instead of agreeing to give ASA and the other defendants that opportunity to respond, Pacira withdrew its motion.

“It is vitally important that we defend and stand behind these three works and the integrity and scholarship of those who contributed to them,” said Evan D. Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Anesthesiology editor-in-chief. “ASA is committed to advancing the medical practice of anesthesiology and improving patient care in all of its endeavors and these authors are leading physicians and researchers in the fields of anesthesiology and clinical studies. Physicians and patients must have trusted information on which to base clinical decisions and care, and that information needs to be unaffected by commercial interests.”

To that end, the magistrate judge ordered Pacira to provide expedited fact and expert discovery over the next few months, after which ASA and its co-defendants expect to file a motion to dispose of the case. Before then, the defendants may file motions to dismiss.  

ASA and the co-authors are represented by Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and Marino, Tortorella & Boyle, P.C.

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.

For more information, contact Theresa Hill at the ASA ([email protected]).