Prescription drugs Januvia, Janumet, Byetta and Victoza are popular type 2 diabetes treatments, but reports of dangerous side effects including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer raise questions about whether the drugs’ risks outweigh their benefits. Many people who have suffered from these side effects have filed lawsuits against the makers of these drugs, Merck (Januvia and Janumet), Amylin, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb (Byetta), and Novo Nordisk A/S (Victoza).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively. These drugs are classified as incretin mimetics. Since approving them, the FDA has issued warnings linking the drugs to serious complications such as pancreatic diseases, yet these products remain on the market, putting patients at risk.
Lawsuits allege that the drugmakers marketed these medications despite knowing that they were dangerous and failed to warn the public about the risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. If you or a loved one has suffered dangerous side effects from Januvia, Janumet, Byetta or Victoza, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Status of Januvia and Byetta Lawsuits
Since hitting the market, the four diabetes treatments were prescribed to millions of people in the United States. Many people developed pancreatic diseases and filed lawsuits against the drugs’ manufacturers. A significant number of cases may ultimately be filed in state and federal courts across the country.
In fact, so many were filed in California that a federal court streamlined case procedures there. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California grouped hundreds of Januvia and Byetta personal injury cases together for discovery. The cases were filed against Januvia maker Merck & Co., Inc., and various Merck affiliates, as well as the makers and marketers of Byetta, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company. In 2012, Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased Amylin for about $5.3 billion, adding them to the list of possible defendants for Byetta lawsuits. The plaintiffs allege that use of Januvia and Byetta led to pancreatic cancer.
Some of the cases were originally filed in state court before being moved to federal court. Defendants who expect a lot of similar lawsuits often request removal to federal court to help them manage their litigation efficiently.
Meanwhile, similar personal injury claims began to emerge against Janumet and Victoza. In August 2013, a federal judicial panel decided to centralize federal cases involving all four drugs in the Southern District of California. Judge Anthony J. Battaglia presides over the cases, which are collectively known as In Re: Incretin Mimetics Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2452).
In its order, the panel noted that it usually avoids centralizing cases involving competitors. But in this instance, it found that the allegations against the four drugs were “highly similar.” In fact many of the plaintiffs took more than one of the drugs and will likely call the same witnesses. The panel also found it compelling that all defendants supported centralization.
As of March 2014, 325 cases were pending in MDL 2452. Additional lawsuits are expected to be filed in federal court as well as California and other state courts. New Jersey may also emerge as a popular venue for case filing since it is the location of Merck’s headquarters.
How We Can Help
People turn to drugs like Januvia, Janumet, Byetta and Victoza because the drugmakers claim that these products can help them control their diabetes. However, some of them developed conditions that are more severe than diabetes. Because the drugmakers did not adequately warn them about the risks, many people are choosing to file personal injury lawsuits. Drugwatch offers free information for people who are interested in filing a legal claim.
In addition to helping injured people obtain more information about the legal process, Drugwatch’s Patient Advocates are also available seven days a week to answer questions and provide other types of support. They can offer resources to help injured patients and their loved ones cope with the medical, emotional and financial hardships that often accompany drug injuries.
Why Should You File a Incretin Mimetics Products Liability Lawsuit?
In January 2013, an Ohio woman filed a lawsuit against Merck and Amylin, alleging that Byetta and Januvia caused her father’s death. Diabetes treatments were prescribed to Robin Raesky’s father as early as 2007. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011. Robin is one of an increasing number of plaintiffs who allege that the drugmakers failed to “exercise reasonable care” and created “unreasonable risks of personal injury to others.”
These plaintiffs also allege that Merck, Amylin and Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk A/S knew or should have known that the drugs created “a high risk of unreasonable, dangerous side effects, including causing and increasing the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.” As a result, claimants have suffered “grievous bodily injury, and untimely death,” along with other losses.
Use of Januvia, Janumet, Byetta and Victoza is associated with acute pancreatitis, including hemorrhagic pancreatitis or necrotizing pancreatitis, which are often fatal.
|People who develop these conditions after using one of these drugs may suffer from the following:|
|Inflammation of the pancreas||Severe abdominal and back pain|
|Abnormal blood pressure||Elevated heart or respiratory rates|
|Nausea or vomiting|
These injuries may persist after patients discontinue use of the prescription drugs. In addition, the drugs may increase the risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Byetta is also linked to various types of kidney dysfunction, with some reports of thyroid cancer.
Patients who are injured are left with new health concerns in addition to their diabetes. Treating severe side effects from these drugs requires long-term medical care and, in many cases, hospitalization. Although financial compensation cannot undo all of the harm injured patients may suffer, it can help them cover medical expenses and replace income lost from an inability to work.
|Examples of relief sought by plaintiffs include:|
|Past and future medical expenses||Home health care|
|Past and future lost earnings||Pain and suffering|
When available, plaintiffs also seek punitive damages to discourage the drugmakers from future wrongdoing. Loved ones may also file lawsuits to obtain compensation for their pain and suffering. Survivors of patients who die because of their injuries may be eligible to file wrongful death claims.
People Who Filed Victoza, Janumet, Januvia and Byetta Lawsuits
People who filed lawsuits claim the drugmakers “overpromoted and underwarned.” In addition to an increasing number of lawsuits, Merck, Amylin, Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk A/S incurred criticism because patients and physicians were not adequately warned about serious, potentially fatal, health risks. Had they received adequate warnings, many of the patients who developed pancreatic cancer or acute pancreatitis could have chosen other diabetes treatments.
Other plaintiffs include:
Riley is a Maryland man who sued Merck, Amylin and Eli Lilly in California state court. His wife, Kathleen, was prescribed Januvia and Byetta to manage type 2 diabetes beginning in 2005.. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and died later that year. He filed a wrongful death claim in California state court in October 2012. His complaint also includes several claims filed on behalf of his wife’s estate, including, among other claims, strict liability, negligence, deceit by concealment and misrepresentation. He alleges that the drugs caused his wife “severe mental and physical pain and suffering prior to her death, along with economic loss.” The case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where it is now pending.
The estate of Regina Kelly filed a suit against Merck, Amylin and Eli Lilly. She developed pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia and Byetta. Her estate alleges that the drugs “permanently and severely injured” her, ultimately causing her death. The estate seeks relief for her physical and mental injuries, the cost of her medical expenses, economic damages, punitive damages and other damages. The case is pending in federal court in California.
Joel Whitley’s mother, Marcia Whitley, was prescribed Januvia in August 2007. The following month, she was also prescribed Janumet. She died of pancreatic cancer in August 2009. Her son filed personal injury claims on behalf of her estate as well as a wrongful death claim. The case is pending in the federal MDL, and discovery is underway.
Linda Jean Howard
Linda Jean Howard of Alabama developed acute pancreatitis after her doctor prescribed Victoza and Byetta. She alleged that had she or her doctor been warned about the risk of developing pancreatitis, she would never have taken the prescription drugs. She filed a lawsuit in federal court in August 2013. Her complaint alleged that the defendants conduct caused her to incur expenses for “physicians, surgeons, nurses, hospital care, medicine, hospices, X-rays, medical supplies and other medical treatment. It also caused her to suffer “a loss of income, wages, profits and commissions, a diminishment of earning potential, and other pecuniary losses.”
|These plaintiffs and others claim that the drugs’ manufacturers are liable for their injuries because:|
|The drugs are defective and cause “unreasonable and dangerous side effects.”|
|The manufacturers failed to adequately test and monitor side effects.|
|The manufacturers should have known about the side effects, but didn’t warn doctors or patients about the risks.|
|The drugmakers inadequately labeled the drugs.|
|The drugmakers concealed the drugs risks from health care providers and the public.|
If you or a loved one has been injured by Januvia, Janumet, Byetta or Victoza, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. A qualified attorney can help you file a claim for injuries caused by one or more of the drugs. Consider contacting a Drugwatch Patient Advocate for more information and help finding an attorney.