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Beovu Lawsuits

Beovu lawsuits claim the drug’s manufacturer failed to warn patients and doctors about potential vision side effects. People who took Beovu and suffered vision loss, retinal vasculitis, occlusive retinal vasculitis and other vision problems filed lawsuits for compensation.

Last Modified: May 14, 2024
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Beovu Lawsuit Update

As of May 2024, there hasn’t been a motion to consolidate these cases in multidistrict litigation because lawyers only expect a few hundred cases. Since each case is proceeding on its own in its respective courts, it’s difficult to gauge the status of each lawsuit. Currently, none of Drugwatch’s legal partners are accepting Beovu lawsuits.

Status of Beovu Lawsuits

  • May 2024: There have been no trials or court-approved settlements in the Beovu lawsuits. 
  • March 2023: Plaintiff Edith A. Harris’ case was dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiff Barbara Frye filed a Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice.
  • September 2022: Barbara Frye’s case was rescheduled for the week of July 10, 2023. Then, rescheduled again for the week of April 1, 2024.
  • September 2022: The judge denied Novartis’ motion to dismiss Frye’s Beovu vision lawsuit case.
  • May 2022: The judge scheduled the deposition deadline in Harris’ case for June 29, 2023.
  • March 2022: Frye’s trial is set for the week of February 13, 2023.
  • January 2022: Novartis filed a motion to dismiss Frye’s claim.
  • December 2021: Barbara Frye filed a Beovu lawsuit against Novartis in the Eastern District of Arkansas under case number 4:21-cv-01173-KGB.
  • January 2021: Edith A. Harris is one of the first people to file a Beovu lawsuit. She filed her complaint in the district court in Nebraska under case number 4:21-cv-03013-JMG-CRZ.

Novartis has attempted to get several cases dismissed on the grounds of federal preemption and judges have allowed cases to continue. Thus far, Novartis hasn’t had much success in dismissing claims. In the case of Frye and Harris, each plaintiff voluntarily dismissed their claims.

Why Did People Filing Beovu Lawsuits?

People filed Beovu lawsuits because they claim there were no warnings for occlusive retinal vasculitis on the drug’s prescribing information until June 2020. Lawyers say Novartis put people at risk of vasculitis, occlusive retinal vasculitis and blindness by not warning them.

Beovu (brolucizumab-dbll) is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It’s administered by injection into the eye.

From its approval in October 2019 to February 2020, doctors have administered about 46,000 Beovu injections, Novartis told Healio.

Occlusive Retinal Vasculitis Risk

In February 2020, the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) shared an update with its members about reports of 14 cases of vasculitis in patients who took Beovu, according to Novartis’ statement to Healio. Vasculitis is inflammation of the vascular branches of arteries in the retina.

Of those 14 cases, 11 people suffered occlusive retinal vasculitis. Occlusive retinal vasculitis is a condition that happens when blood vessels in the eye become blocked. The condition may lead to blindness. After a month, cases increased to 25 cases of retinal vasculitis. Twenty-one of them involved occlusion.

Novartis stands by Beovu’s safety and efficacy. In a June 2020 statement, the company said these reports are “rare post-marketing safety events.”

Injuries in Lawsuits

Beovu’s prescribing insert lists several vision-related side effects of the drug. The most common are blurred vision, cataracts, eye hemorrhage and blood vessel inflammation in the back of the eye. The original prescribing label didn’t include warnings about retinal vasculitis and retinal occlusion.

After reviewing the information from American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), Novartis announced in April 2020 that it would evaluate reports of severe vision loss, retinal artery occlusion and/or vasculitis with Beovu.

The drug maker concluded that “there is a confirmed safety signal of rare adverse events of ‘retinal vasculitis and/or retinal vascular occlusion that may result in severe vision loss.’”

In February 2020, FDA approved Novartis’ label change to include “additional safety information regarding retinal vasculitis and retinal vascular occlusion.”

Beovu vision injuries in lawsuits include:
  • Blindness
  • Occlusive retinal vasculitis
  • Retinal artery occlusion
  • Retinal vasculitis
  • Vision loss

Woman Has Retinal Vasculitis After Beovu

In August 2020, Dr. Srinivas Sai A. Kondapalli of Everett and Hurite Ophthalmic Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reported on a case of a 77-year old woman who suffered acute visual acuity loss in her right eye after taking two doses of Beovu. JAMA Ophthalmology published the case report.

Doctors diagnosed the woman with retinal vasculitis. She had previously taken bevacizumab and aflibercept for wet age-related macular degeneration and did not have any eye inflammation with either drug.

Symptoms of Retinal Vasculitis

Retinal vasculitis is a condition that causes inflammation in the retina, the part of the eye that senses light and allows you to see. Potential causes include infectious disease, a neurological disorder or autoimmune disease.

Retinal vasculitis can be aggressive and recurrent. In uncontrolled disease, it can lead to severe vision loss. It progresses through stages.

If retinal vasculitis occurs with occlusion from a blockage in a vein, it can cause sudden blurring or vision loss. Some vision loss starts as a slight blur then gets worse over hours or days.

Symptoms of retinal vasculitis include:
  • Altered color vision
  • Blurring of vision
  • Flashes
  • Floaters (spots or streaks in vision)
  • Metamorphopsia (a defect that causes linear objects, like lines, to look rounded or curvy)
  • Pain
  • Scotoma (partial loss of vision or a blind spot)

Will There Be a Recall?

So far, Novartis and the FDA haven’t mentioned a Beovu recall.

While the FDA approved Novartis’ label change, it did not issue a safety communication to the public or announce any regulatory actions.

Another drug involved in vision loss lawsuits is Elmiron. According to Elmiron lawsuits, the drug’s maker — Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. — failed to warn people that the medication could cause a rare disorder called retinal pigmentary maculopathy.

Like retinal vasculitis, retinal pigmentary maculopathy can cause permanent vision loss.

FDA hasn’t announced a recall for Elmiron or issued a safety announcement. Janssen added a warning for retinal pigmentary maculopathy in June 2020.

Learn About Elmiron Lawsuits

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.