Daiichi Sankyo's Benicar treats high blood pressure, but it is also linked to severe intestinal problems that mimic Celiac disease. People who took the drug suffered from intestinal damage, chronic diarrhea, malnourishment and severe weight loss that required hospitalization. Patients and their families sought justice against the drug's maker by filing lawsuits for compensation.
Why File a Benicar Lawsuit?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned consumers that Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) may cause severe gastrointestinal (GI) problems. People who suffered these side effects filed lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer.
From 2002 to 2008, Daiichi Sankyo spent approximately $1 billion promoting Benicar and Benicar HCT. The company claimed the drug was superior to other drugs in its class in safety and effectiveness. However, according to studies and the FDA, no other drugs in the angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) class have been found to cause severe intestinal issues known as sprue-like enteropathy. The symptoms of this condition include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss.
Benicar and Villous AtrophyPeople who take Benicar, or the related drugs Azor or Tribenzor, also may suffer from a condition known as villous atrophy. This is a disorder that causes the lining of the intestines to lose its texture and makes it difficult to absorb nutrients. This leads to malnourishment, which can cause other digestive issues.
In some cases, people injured by Benicar went to several doctors and may have ended up in a hospital because of dehydration, chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. Filing a lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo may allow people to get compensation for medical bills and other damages.
Status of Benicar Lawsuits
Daiichi Sankyo released Benicar on the market in 2002, but it wasn’t until July 2013 that the FDA issued a warning that Benicar can cause sprue-like enteropathy. People injured by Benicar filed lawsuits soon after the FDA warning.
Growing Number of Lawsuits
Plaintiffs and their attorneys filed some of the first lawsuits against Daiichi Sankyo in New Jersey state court in February 2014. Judges then moved the cases to federal court. Experts expect more lawsuits to follow.
According to plaintiffs’ attorneys, many people who suffer from digestive issues because of Benicar might not realize the drug is to blame. The severe chronic diarrhea caused by the drug can be mistaken for other diseases like Celiac disease — an allergy to gluten, a protein found in grains — or other intestinal issues.
People Who Filed Benicar Lawsuits
According to his complaint, George Williams – one of the first people to file a Benicar lawsuit – ended up in the hospital for over 100 days because of the drug. Williams developed cataracts and a compression fracture in his back because of Benicar and a number of treatments that were supposed to treat his chronic diarrhea, he said. In addition, he must now use a feeding tube.
Consumers at Risk
Daiichi Sankyo had a duty to protect the public and properly conduct research and testing before making Benicar available to the public. Williams’ complaint asserts the company put consumers at risk by manufacturing a defective and dangerous product and not properly warning the public. In April 2015, Daiichi Sankyo settled a case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice for $39 million. The lawsuit claimed the manufacturer provided illegal kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Benicar, violating the False Claims Act.
Complaints against Daiichi Sankyo
- Promoting and selling Benicar and other olmesartan products, “which are defective and unreasonably dangerous to consumers.”
- Concealing the dangers of Benicar and risking the lives of consumers who take the drug.
- Failing to warn consumers and doctors of the risk of severe side effects.
- Inadequately testing Benicar before selling it to consumers.
- Knowingly creating and selling a dangerous product.
- Malicious and negligent disregard for the rights of others.
- Over-promoting Benicar products in marketing literature, product packages and advertising on television as safe and effective.
- Misrepresenting the risks and safety of Benicar.