DrugWatch, a website dedicated to informing consumers of the dangerous side effects of popular prescription drugs and medical devices, recently interviewed Morgan & Morgan attorney Michael Goetz on his involvement in diabetes drug litigation.
Goetz, the head of Morgan & Morgan’s mass tort section, spoke of his long history of handling pharmaceutical cases. His first involvement with diabetes drug litigation came two years ago when he represented hundreds of patients who were injured after using Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia, litigation that has since been resolved. Since then, Goetz has been pursuing claims on behalf of patients allegedly injured by Actos, as well as other popular Type 2 diabetes drugs Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, and Victoza. In these cases, Goetz primarily serves as counselor and advocate for his clients while working directly with lawyers around the country. The overall goal of these suits, according to Goetz, is to “hold drug manufacturers accountable for avoidable injuries and deaths caused by their products.”
When asked about the specific complications these Type 2 diabetes drugs could cause, Goetz noted the risk of pancreatic cancer is by far the most serious.
“Like all drugs, there is a laundry list of potential side effects associated with incretin-based drugs,” Goetz told DrugWatch. “The most serious problem with Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, Victoza, and the others, is the concern over pancreatic cancer.”
As lawsuits over the dangerous side effects of Type 2 diabetes drugs progress, many questions have been raised as to why the FDA approved these allegedly deadly medications in the first place. The answer, Goetz speculates, may have something to do with what information the drugs’ manufacturers provide the FDA before their products get approved.
It’s up to the people to stand up and hold bad corporate actors accountable for the harm they cause innocent consumers.
“One of the key aspects in this litigation,” Goetz said, “will be to determine what the manufacturers knew about the risk of pancreatic cancer, when they knew it, and what efforts, if any, they took to inform the FDA either before or after the drugs were approved.”
In Goetz’s opinion, these drugs should be recalled, if not by their manufacturers, then by the FDA, citing the various treatment options available to Type 2 diabetes patients that do not pose a pancreatic cancer risk. Goetz’s message to patients who have been injured, though, is that it’s time to stop relying on Washington to fix pharmaceutical companies’ mistakes and to stand up to corporations that try to sidestep liability.
“History shows that drug companies often put their own profits over patient safety,” Goetz said. “We can rely on the government to police these activities only so far. Beyond that, it’s up to the people to stand up and hold bad corporate actors accountable for the harm they cause innocent consumers.”
A graduate of Emory University and the University of Florida College of Law, Goetz represents clients nationwide in mass tort litigation, including in currently active pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. Most recently, Goetz, who has been rated “AV-Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, has been appointed to the multidistrict litigation steering committees in both the ongoing transvaginal mesh and Pradaxa matters.