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Shezad Malik MD JD
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Byetta and Januvia Pancreatic Cancer Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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According to a recently filed wrongful death lawsuit, the family of a California woman, alleges that their mother developed pancreatic cancer from side effects of the diabetes drugs Byetta, Bydureon, Januvia and Janumet.

The lawsuit was filed by Robbin Tasler, the daughter of Linda Blaylock in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in April. Linda Blaylock died in April 2011 of pancreatic cancer after using the newer diabetes drugs for several years.

According to the diabetes drug pancreatic cancer complaint, Blaylock took Byetta, Bydureon, Januvia and Janumet between 2008 and March 2011. All of these drugs act similarly to increase the production of insulin and stopping the pancreas from releasing too much glucagon. These hormones produced in the pancreas are integral to the metabolism of glucose and maintaining a steady glucose blood level.

Byetta, Bydureon, Januvia and Janumet are all members of a group of diabetic drugs known as incretin mimetics, which according to experts and recent medical studies linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.

Plaintiff's Wrongful Death Allegations

According to the complaint, the manufacturers failed to adequately warn doctors or patients about the potential increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The complaint seeks damages against Merck, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co. for failure to warn, designing a defective drug, negligence, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment.

Diabetic Drugs Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Incretin mimetics are a new class of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. Byetta (exenatide) was approved by the FDA in 2005, and is manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceuticals as a twice daily injection. Bydureon is a longer-acting version of Byetta that is injected once weekly, which was introduced in 2012.

Januvia (sitagliptin) was approved by the FDA in 2006 and is manufactured by Merck as an oral medication, and as a combination pill containing Januvia and another diabetic medication metformin, under the brand name Janumet.

Victoza (liraglutide) was approved by the FDA in 2010, and manufactured by Novo Nordisk as a daily injection. Onglyza (saxagliptin) was approved by the FDA in 2009 and is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. Tradjenta (linagliptin) is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim and approved for sale in 2011.

FDA Investigates Incretin Mimetics

In March 2013, the FDA launched an investigation into the potential pancreatic cancer risk associated with the Incretin Mimetics diabetic drugs.

Byetta, Bydureon, Januvia and Janumet Federal MDL

In April, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting consolidation and centralization of all pancreatic cancer lawsuits involving Byetta, Victoza, Januvia and Janumet. Nationwide approximately 55 pancreatic cancer cases have been filed in federal courts .

If consolidation is granted, all of the currently filed Incretin Mimetic Pancreatic Cancer lawsuits involving Byetta, Victoza, Januvia and Janumet, will be transferred to federal court in San Diego for pre trial work up and coordinated discovery.