Belviq Cancer Lawsuit
Belviq is a popular prescription weight loss drug that is designed to treat obesity. It is sometimes used by people with diabetes to deal with some of the weight gain associated with that illness. However, Belviq has been reported to have some serious side effects. One of the major problems that people have taken Belviq are at a higher risk for is cancer. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that the manufacturer of Belviq take the drug off the U.S. market.
Now, sales of Belviq (and Belviq XR) have been discontinued because of the cancer risk.
That does not mean that this is the end of the story for Belviq. Many people who have taken the pill have been sickened or will develop side effects in the future. This will likely open the door for many Belviq cancer lawsuits to be filed against Arena Pharmaceutical, the company that made the drug. We are still in the very early stages of the coming litigation against Arena, but it is a virtual certainty that the company will face hundreds, if not thousands of lawsuits.
The drug recall attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are here to help if you or your family member took Belviq or Belviq XR and developed cancer. We have experience fighting for people who have been injured by dangerous drugs that prove to be defective. We can file a lawsuit on your behalf as you seek to get the financial compensation that you deserve. We invite you to contact our law firm for a free case evaluation of your rights concerning legal action against the pharmaceutical company.
What is Belviq?
Belviq was intended to help obese patients control their weight when they combine it with diet and exercise. Belviq contains the active ingredient lorcaserin and is taken in tablet form.
Lorcaserin is intended to stimulate a serotonin receptor to make a patient feel more full than they otherwise would without the medication. The medication would mean that they also do not want food as much before a meal and during it. This would lead to a reduction in their eating.
Belviq was developed by Arena Pharmaceutical and marketed in conjunction with Eisai Inc., who eventually fully purchased the medication. One month of the medication cost $300 without any type of insurance coverage.
Belviq was one of the first major diet pills approved by the FDA in over a decade. There was a backlash against diet pills because of the scores of people who died from taking Fen-Phen. It was originally thought that Belviq would fill the public’s desire to find a quicker way to lose weight.
Belviq Sales Statistics
Belviq never quite lived up to its promise as a weight-loss drug. Perhaps there was some skepticism after the Fen-Phen diet drug debacle, but Belviq’s sales lagged well below its expectations and the drug never quite “made it.” However, the problem is still the same for people who did put their trust in the weight loss drug Belviq and ended up sick as a result.
Original sales forecasts were for Belviq to reach $2-3 billion in sales at its peak. The thought was that there was a pent up demand for a new diet drug. However, Belviq was a disappointment on the sales front.
In 2017, Arena Pharmaceuticals cut its losses and sold Belviq to Eisai Inc.. At the time of the sale, Arena’s revenues from Belviq were just over $20 million, just one percent of what the early expectations were.
Nonetheless, even with the low sales numbers, thousands of patients still took Belviq on a regular basis, paying good money for a drug that the company allegedly knew all along was dangerous. This now leaves them with an elevated risk of cancer that they will need to live with for the rest of their lives.
European Regulators Concerns About Side Effects of Belviq
While the FDA approved Belviq, the European regulators denied the new drug application. Ultimately, the reasons for the rejection were the same ones that are now finding their way into Belviq cancer lawsuits.
The European Medicines Agency found that there was some weight loss benefit from the drug in that it could help patients lose five percent of their body weight. However, this was outweighed by the fact that Belviq’s clinical study testing results showed that it could cause cancerous tumors in lab rats.
In other words, when Belviq put its product on the market in the U.S., there was a known risk that the product was associated with an increased risk of cancer. Arena ended up withdrawing its application for approval in Europe after the regulator was unpersuaded by the company’s responses to its questions.
The FDA Still Approved Belviq Even With Known Cancer Concerns
Even with the possibility that Belviq could be a carcinogen, the FDA still approved Belviq for use. Belviq did take two years to go through the regulatory approval process because the FDA did not originally approve the drug due to the same concerns as the European Medicines Agency expressed.
Arena Pharmaceutical took over a year to respond to all of the FDA’s concerns. Arena included new data about its testing in rats to show that Belviq was not likely to cause cancer.
The FDA’s Advisory Committee voted in May 2012 to recommend approval of Belviq as a prescription weight loss drug to treat obesity and high blood pressure. The vote was not unanimous. Four of the 23 voting members of the Advisory Committee voted to recommend rejection of Belviq over a lack of a long-term safety study.
In June 2012, the FDA gave approval to Belviq. The required warning label made no mention of the risk of cancer. At the time of approval, the FDA required Arena Pharmaceutical to perform six post-marketing studies, including analysis of cardiovascular risks and stroke. In 2016, the FDA approved an extended-release version of Belviq (Belviq XR).
Why is Belviq Recalled From the U.S. Market?
It was during the post-marketing studies that the potential risks about Belviq being a carcinogen resurfaced. These doubts were always present, and both the manufacturer and the FDA knew of them all along. However, this knowledge was not shared with the general public who was taking the drug.
The clinical study results quantified the increased risk of cancer in patients taking Belviq compared top a placebo group. In general, the cancer risk of patients taking a placebo was 7.1 cases per 1,000 patients. The patients who were taking the actual drug Belviq had 7.7 cancer cases per 1,000 patients. While this seems like a small number, you have to look at it on a percentage.
Even one additional case of cancer is too much. However, for every million patients taking Belviq, 600 of them would receive a cancer diagnosis. This is enough of a danger to think of Belviq as a carcinogen.
What Types of Cancer are Tied to Belviq?
Since Belviq is a drug that acts on the digestive system, it follows that this is where the cancers are caused. The FDA did not specify which cancers were connected to Belviq, but other reporting has detailed some of the possible tumors. Specifically, Belviq has been tied to the following types of cancer:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Colon cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
Studies on this prescription medication are still underway. Scientists are looking at the possibility of patients developing other complications such as brain cancer and other health problems.
Unfortunately, the survival rates for some of the above cancers can be disappointing. When an individual dies from cancer complications, their family may still pursue a wrongful death case against the manufacturer of Belviq.
Has the FDA recalled Belviq?
Yes, the FDA has recalled Belviq from the market. In January 2020, the FDA alerted the public of the results of the post-market study clinical trial. The FDA itself should not have been surprised by the finding of an increased risk of cancer given the fact that it approved the drug in the face of numerous findings that date back for years.
At the time that the FDA initially alerted the public, it stated that it was not certain if Belviq caused cancer but that it would leave it up to healthcare professionals to decide if the benefits of the drug outweighed the risks. The FDA said that it was continuing to evaluate the testing results.
One month later, the FDA reached its conclusion. After years of results and speculation about the fact that Belviq could cause increase risk of cancer in users, the FDA finally requested that the drug's manufacturer pull the prescription drug from the market. It also advised patients to stop taking Belviq and speak to their health care provider about finding a new weight loss drug.
Eisai Inc. complied with the FDA’s request and voluntarily recalled the drug. Thus, the weight loss drug that was supposed to revolutionize the market but never really got off the ground was no more.
Is There a Pending Belviq Cancer Lawsuit?
As of this writing, the first lawsuits have been just filed against Eisai Pharmaceuticals, Arena Pharmaceuticals and CVS Health. There have not been many lawsuits filed yet, but this will be changing in the near future. The FDA just requested that the product be withdrawn from the market in February, 2020. Currently, there are many investigations of the drug that will likely lead to lawsuits in the coming months related to: lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and other conditions.
As more people learn about the correlation between Belviq use and cancer and new lawsuits get filed, the cases may be consolidated into class action or multi-district litigation (MDL) lawsuits.
It takes some time for attorneys to establish the facts of the case so that they can draft the strongest complaint possible. The first lawsuits have been filed and more are coming. For these reasons, there is Belviq settlement at this time.
What was the First Belviq Lawsuit?
The case is called Zottolla vs. Eisai et al. It is a proposed class action lawsuit that was filed in the Southern District of New York on March 27, 2020. This was a class action that was filed on behalf of all purchasers of the drug.
Note that this initial lawsuit is not a personal injury action that alleges that Belviq caused a particular person’s case of cancer. We believe that those lawsuits will be filed in the near future. This lawsuit is a consumer class-action that seeks money back that was spent on the drug.
However, it is important to understand the allegations in this lawsuit because it will give you some perspective as to what was wrong with Belviq. Here are some of the actual allegations against the defendants in the class-action lawsuit along with some of the possible allegations in Belviq personal injury lawsuits.
- Arena and Eisai knew of the possible cancer risks of Belviq since there were studies documenting this as far back as 2007 yet still continued to sell the product to the public.
- The drug manufacturer should have warned the public as part of the label for the product of the potential of Belviq to cause cancer.
- The medication was not fit for its intended purpose because it was a carcinogen.
- Belviq, as designed, constituted an unreasonable danger to the general public.
Have You or a Loved one Developed Cancer After Taking Belviq or Belviq XR? Get Legal Help now
Proving that a medication such as Belviq requires the skill of experienced personal injury attorney. When you are dealing with a product that is considered a scientific advance, it is not always easy to show the jury that it is defective or that the pharmaceutical company did something else wrong.
When it comes to Belviq, one of the challenges will be to demonstrate that Belviq actually caused your cancer. In other words, causation, which is a necessary part of every personal injury lawsuit, will be an issue at a Belviq trial. This is why you need an experienced attorney at your side.
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will work with scientific experts to establish that Belviq use was the cause of your injury. We have helped many clients get financial compensation after they we injured by defective medications. Our lawyers know how to argue cases that are dependent on scientific evidence and maximize a recovery for you.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation so we can help you begin to prepare your Belviq cancer lawsuit. You owe us nothing for our services unless we are able to help you recover for your injuries.