Lawsuits allege that Victoza, an incretin mimetic drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, may cause pancreatic cancer.
Victoza isn’t the only incretin mimetic drug that has been linked to this dangerous side effect. Januvia, Janumet, and Byetta have also been linked to pancreatic cancer. Manufacturers Novo Nordisk, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly, and Amylin Pharmaceuticals now face a combined 749 lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) based in Southern California.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Victoza, you may be eligible for a lawsuit against manufacturer Novo Nordisk. Contact our attorneys for a free legal review.
Does Victoza Cause Pancreatic Cancer?
Incretin mimetic drugs regulate the production of incretin, a type of hormone that stimulates the release of insulin in the body.
Victoza does this by injecting patients with a substance that mimics a particular incretin called Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1).
Researchers suspect that this process may overstimulate the pancreas, and in some cases, cause pancreas cells to multiply. Dr. Peter Butler, a diabetes expert at UCLA, discovered a growth of precancerous lesions in the pancreas when this process occurred.
More than 2,500 Victoza patients have complained to the FDA about pancreatic side effects.
According to the FDA’s adverse event database, patients taking Januvia, a similar drug to Victoza, are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Beyond these observations though, the research is still unclear if and how incretin mimetic drugs cause pancreatic cancer. In 2013, the FDA asked researchers to investigate the correlation in greater depth.
But while the medical community gathers more evidence, patients continue to file complaints alleging their type 2 diabetes medication caused their pancreatic side effects.
More than 2,500 Victoza patients have filed complaints with the FDA alleging that the drug caused pancreatic side effects. The vast majority (more than 2,300) allege pancreatitis, both acute and chronic. Similar reports have been made for other incretin mimetics: Roughly 2,400 Januvia patients and more than 3,000 Byetta patients have complained of pancreatitis.
The American Cancer Society warns that patients with chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Did Novo Nordisk Mislead Doctors About Victoza's Safety?
Whistleblowers alleged the company misled doctors about Victoza's safety by paying kickbacks and having sales people pose as medical educators.
In September 2017, Novo Nordisk settled with the Department of Justice for $58.7 million. The amount included $12.5 million to settle claims brought against them for allegedly violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It also included $46.5 million to settle whistleblower claims.
Whistleblowers claimed the company misled doctors about Victoza's safety by paying kickbacks and having sales people pose as medical educators.
A 2011 survey showed that more than half of physicians weren’t aware of Victoza’s risks. This certainly wasn’t helped by Novo Nordisk’s deceptive marketing tactics.
Where Do Victoza Lawsuits Currently Stand?
A Ninth Circuit judicial panel ruled that Judge Battaglia misinterpreted federal preemption.
The combined 749 incretin mimetic cases against leading manufacturers Novo Nordisk, Merck & Co., and Eli Lilly & Co. are consolidated into one multi-district litigation (MDL) in Southern California. Lawsuits allege the drugs cause pancreatic cancer and that the manufacturers failed to warn doctors and patients of the risk.
The ongoing litigation has seen its share of drama. In 2015, Federal Judge Anthony Battaglia dismissed the then 744 failure-to-warn lawsuits in favor of the defendants. Novo Nordisk, Merck & Co., and Eli Lilly & Co. argued that the FDA would have prevented them from putting a pancreatic cancer warning on their drug labels, and since the FDA is a federal agency, it trumps state laws.
In September 2016, plaintiffs alleged that Judge Battaglia misinterpreted the federal preemption law. In December 2017, a Ninth Circuit judicial panel ruled in favor of plaintiffs, claiming that Judge Battaglia misinterpreted the Supreme Court ruling in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs' Legal Committee which states that private parties cannot pursue state law tort claim alleging violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
The panel also ruled that consumers claimed defendants violated the common law duty to warn, which falls outside the FDCA. The panel’s rulings have breathed new life into these cases.
What Do Lawsuits Allege?
Lawsuits allege some combination of the following:
- Victoza increased patients’ risk of developing pancreatic cancer
- Novo Nordisk failed to warn patients about Victoza’s pancreatic cancer risk
- Novo Nordisk manufactured a defective drug which caused “unreasonable and dangerous side effects”
- Novo Nordisk failed to warn physicians of Victoza’s risks
Who Qualifies for a Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one took Victoza and were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005 or later, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Novo Nordisk.
Lawsuits in Victoza’s multi-district litigation also include claims against Byetta and Januvia. These incretin mimetics may also cause pancreatic cancer.
What Can a Lawsuit Recover?
A lawsuit can help patients put their lives back together after suffering a serious drug-related health incident. A lawsuit can help recover damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Loss of earnings (past and future)
Diagnosed with Cancer? We'll Fight For You
If you or a loved one took Victoza and were later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it’s your right to hold Novo Nordisk accountable.
Our attorneys lead multiple nationwide class actions against the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, like Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, and more. In fact, our attorney Michael Goetz is on the plaintiffs' steering committee for the Victoza, Byetta, and Januvia multi-district litigation.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation legal review. You never pay anything unless we win a verdict or settlement for you.
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