Prescription drugs Januvia and Byetta are popular type 2 diabetes treatments, but reports of dangerous side effects including pancreatitis–inflammation of the pancreas–and pancreatic cancer raise questions about whether the drugs’ risks outweigh their effectiveness. Several people who have suffered from these side effects have filed lawsuits against the makers of these drugs, Merck, which manufactures Januvia, and Amylin, Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which manufacture and market Byetta.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Byetta in 2005 and Januvia in 2006. Since approving the drugs, the FDA has issued warnings about links between Januvia and Byetta and serious complications such as pancreatic diseases, yet these drugs remain on the market putting patients at risk.
Lawsuits already filed 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 or Byetta, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Status of Januvia and Byetta Lawsuits
Since hitting the market, Januvia and Byetta were prescribed to millions of people in the United States. Several people who have developed pancreatic diseases have 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 cases are on file in California that a federal court is streamlining case procedures there. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has grouped more than a dozen Januvia and Byetta personal injury cases together for discovery. The cases were filed against Januvia makers 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. As more cases are filed, a federal judicial panel may decide to centralize all Januvia and Byetta lawsuits filed in federal court under multidistrict litigation (MDL) procedures.
However, even if an MDL forms, plaintiffs are not required to file in federal court. Additional lawsuits are expected to be filed in 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 and Byetta because the drugmakers claim that these products can help them control their diabetes. However, some of them have developed conditions that are more severe than the underlying condition that led them to Januvia or Byetta in the first place. 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 dangerous drug injuries.
Why Should You File a Januvia or Byetta 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 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 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 or Byetta has been associated with acute pancreatitis, including hemorrhagic pancreatitis or necrotizing pancreatitis, which are often fatal.
|People who develop these conditions after using Januvia or Byetta 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 Januvia or Byetta. In addition, the drugs may increase the risk for developing pancreatic cancer. Byetta has also been linked to various types of kidney dysfunction and reports of thyroid cancer.
Patients who have been injured by Januvia or Byetta 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 Januvia and Byetta 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 Januvia or Byetta patients who die because of their injuries may be eligible to file wrongful death claims.
People Who Filed Januvia and Byetta Lawsuits
People who have filed Januvia and Byetta lawsuits claim the drugmakers “overpromoted and underwarned.” In addition to an increasing number of lawsuits, Merck, Amylin and Eli Lilly have 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 would 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, began taking Byetta to manage type 2 diabetes in 2005. She took the drug under doctor’s direction until 2006. He later prescribed Januvia. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and died later that year. Her husband 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 for type 2 diabetes. 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 currently pending in federal court in California.
|These plaintiffs and others injured by Januvia and Byetta 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 or Byetta, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. A qualified attorney can help you file a claim for injuries caused by one or both of the drugs. Consider contacting a Drugwatch Patient Advocate for more information and help finding an attorney.