Belviq Cancer Lawsuit | Diet Pill Drug Recall lawyer
Belviq was one of those weight loss drugs that should have never been approved by the FDA. The drug seemed doomed from the start and was approved in spite of known cancer risks. Not only was the drug never approved in Europe, but it was a sales flop in the U.S. Nonetheless, there were still enough people who were subjected to danger when they were prescribed Belviq. As a result of the defects in the drug, many patients have now developed cancer. Accordingly, Belviq cancer lawsuits have been filed, and new legal claims are pending. If you or a loved one have developed cancer from taking Belviq, you could file your own claim for financial compensation.
Even though Belviq has been recalled and sales have been discontinued in the U.S., this does not mean that patients who took the drug can breathe easy. The drug’s effects may have built up in their body over time, and they may still develop cancer in the future, even if they are healthy now. The company that made the drug, Arena Pharmaceutical and the one that bought the selling rights, Eisai, are still at risk for future lawsuits. The lawsuits that have already been filed promise to be the first in a wave of court actions against Arena and Eisai.
WHAT IS BELVIQ?
Belviq is a weight loss drug that is meant to go along with diet and exercise to help patients take off extra pounds. The active ingredient of Belviq is called lorcaserin. The drug was intended to trick patients’ bodies into feeling more full than they otherwise would have. This would have the same effect as reducing their appetite. The way the weight loss drug Belviq works is that lorcaserin stimulates a serotonin receptor that creates these feelings in the body. The end result is that patients eat less.
There are two companies that have had a hand in making and selling Belviq. Arena Pharmaceuticals developed the drug and Eisai, Inc partnered with it in marketing it. Eventually, Eisai bought all of the rights to sell the drug.
“Earlier, in January 2020, the FDA had alerted the public about a possible risk of cancer associated with lorcaserin, the active ingredient in Belviq, based on preliminary analysis of the data.” Id.
WHY WAS BELVIQ A SALES DUD?
Americans are naturally skeptical about diet pills, even as a large part of the country is obese. People remember the dangers tied to the supposed miracle weight loss pill Fen-Phen. The popular weight loss drug had deadly side effects of killing scores of people with heart attacks. There are literally thousands of people with damaged hearts because of Fen-Phen’s defect. As a result, the FDA was afraid to approve a diet drug for years. Belviq was the first one that got FDA approval in nearly a decade. However, the FDA probably should not have approved Belviq in retrospect. While you cannot take action against the FDA, you can sue the companies that brought this dangerous drug to market.
Before it was approved, the sales expectations for Belviq were high. Some experts were throwing around numbers that the drug could have annual sales as high as $3 billion. However, the makers never fully understood how much of an overhang on sales the Fen-Phen debacle would cause. Arena thought that there was pent-up demand for a diet drug. They were wrong. Eventually, Arena decided to cut bait on the drug, disappointed by years of sluggish sales. It sold the rest of its stake in Belviq to Eisai in 2017.
CANCER RISKS OF THE WEIGHT LOSS DRUG BELVIQ WERE KNOWN EARLY
Part of the reason why Belviq’s sales were so low is that the drug was never approved by European regulators. They knew of the problem that the FDA either ignored or discounted. The European Medicines Agency learned two major things about Belviq in its testing. The first was that the drug was effective as a weight loss pill. The second was that there were known cancer risks that far outweighed the weight loss benefits.
Specifically, the EMA found that Belviq’s testing results indicated that it was a possible carcinogen. It was shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats. Ultimately, Arena decided not to proceed with its application in Europe because it could not persuade the EMA to approve the drug. When Arena started selling the drug in the U.S., the fears about cancer were not a secret.
THE FDA STILL APPROVED THE DRUG
The FDA was far from ignorant about the risks of Belviq. It knew full well of the possible carcinogenic properties of the drug, yet it still approved it for use. Of course, Belviq’s approval was a long-running saga that stretched out over two years. When Belviq received approval, the vote was far from unanimous. Even some FDA advisory voters had their own fears. In the end, four committee members voted against approval.
What is even more mind-boggling is that the FDA approval did not come with a requirement to warn the public about the risk of cancer after taking Belviq. Instead, the public bought the drug and put themselves at risk largely without the benefit of a heads-up that Belviq may cause cancer.
BELVIQ’S PROBLEMS NEVER WENT AWAY
The makers of Belviq were required to do post-market studies about the drug’s safety while the drug was being sold to the public. The test results confirmed what the FDA knew or should have known all along; Belviq is a dangerous drug. The post-market study showed that there was an elevated chance of being diagnosed with cancer and cancer risk from taking Belviq. The study looked for rates of cancer in people who were taking Belviq and those who were on a placebo. The patients taking a placebo had 7.1 cases of cancer for every 1,000 patients. Those on Belviq had a rate of 7.7 cases of cancer for 1,000 patients.
This may not seem like a higher risk, but it actually works out to six extra cases for every 1,000 patients. If there were 100,000 people using Belviq, this would work out to 600 extra cases.
BELVIQ CANCER LAWSUIT – CANCERS CAUSED BY BELVIQ
Belviq is a drug that works on the digestive system. Naturally, the types of cancer caused by the drug would be in the general area of the digestive system. Specifically, patients have alleged that Belviq has caused the following types of cancer:
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Lung cancer
- Kidney cancer
This is based on some of the other reporting since the FDA report did not discuss specific types of cancer. Many patients are still learning about their cancer diagnoses since the disease takes some time to develop. There is still much to be learned about the effects of Belviq since it is a newer drug that was not on the market for a long time.
THE FDA RECALLED BELVIQ
Belviq’s recall happened very quickly after the post market study results were released. Initially, the Food and Drug Administration just released the study results in January 2020 and left it to healthcare professionals to decide whether they should continue to prescribe the drug to their patients. However, the FDA’s tune changed very quickly. In February 2020, the FDA ordered Belviq’s complete recall from pharmacies. Not only was the drug to be pulled from the market, but patients taking Belviq were also advised to stop using the drug and find a new weight loss aid. This ended a chapter that probably never should have happened anyway. In the meantime, at least hundreds of people developed cancer from an unsafe drug.
BELVIQ CANCER LAWSUITS
Patients are beginning to file Belviq cancer lawsuits. These are product liability lawsuits that allege that the drugmakers marketed and sold a defective drug. Not only that, but the lawsuits claim that the drugmakers knew all along of the risks of the drug and did not warn the public. Patients have already filed a class action lawsuit seeking their money back, but injured patients are in the process of working with attorneys to file personal injury lawsuits related to the cancer that they developed after taking Belviq.
It is likely that this case will become part of multi-district litigation in the future. With cases still being filed, there will probably be enough cases for this to become a mass tort in an MDL. This means that the cases will be combined for purposes of discovery but will remain separate legal actions. In an MDL, the court will pick several bellwether cases to proceed first ahead of all of the rest of the cases.
I have diagnosed if you or a loved one with cancer after taking Belviq, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation by filing a Belviq lawsuit. You should contact a Belviq cancer lawsuit attorney to learn more about your legal rights and how you can file your own legal claim. Hiring a Belviq lawyer will not cost you anything out of your pocket, and we are only paid if you win.