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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
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California Byetta, Januvia Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuits

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All Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza cancer lawsuits are consolidated and centralized as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.

These product liability cases involve pancreatic cancer after the use of Byetta, Januvia, Janumet or Victoza as part of the “Incretin Mimetics Product Liability Litigation.”

The product liability cases are centralized before U.S. District Judge Battaglia in the Southern District of California for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings. The consolidation is beneficial for all parties in complex pharmaceutical litigation, to reduce repetitive discovery and to prevent conflicting rulings from different federal judges.

What are Incretin Mimetics?

Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza belong to a class of newer diabetic drugs, called incretin mimetics. According to some experts, the side effects of these incretin mimetics have been associated with an increased risk of chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis is a known risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer.

Byetta (exenatide) was approved by the FDA in 2005, and is manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceuticals as a twice daily injection. Januvia (sitagliptin) was approved by the FDA in 2006 and 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.

Incretin Mimetics have blockbuster drug status for treatment of type 2 diabetes, generating billions in annual sales. Merck’s Januvia and Janumet, has over $4 billion in sales last year. Novo Nordisk’s Victoza sales were about $1.8 billion and Amylin Pharmaceuticals’ Byetta earned a reported $149 million last year.

Byetta, Januvia Pancreatic Cancer Allegations

Injured patients allege that the manufacturers of the drugs failed to adequately research the side effects of their products or properly warn consumers and the doctors about the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Medical Research of Increased Risk of Pancreatitis

In February, Johns Hopkins medical researchers noted that taking Januvia or Byetta may double the risk of hospitalization due to pancreatitis, which raised concerns about an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

In March, the risk of pancreatic cancer from Januvia, Byetta and other incretin mimetics was noted in another study published in the medical journal Diabetes. This study found that pancreas tissue from organ donors who took an incretin mimetic were more likely to have increased pancreatic mass and precancerous cells.

Recently, in November Italian researchers found that in a review of 1,169 adverse drug reaction reports, they identified at least 90 cases of users of incretin mimetics suffering from pancreatitis and elevated pancreatic enzymes. Acute or chronic pancreatitis is a risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer.