The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan are investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of patients who received Byetta injections for diabetes and were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Research has suggested that Byetta users may be at a [heightened risk for pancreatic cancer](/faq/class-actions/) when compared to those exploring other treatment options. It has been alleged that the manufacturer of Byetta knew about the increased risk of pancreatic cancer and failed to provide proper warnings to both patients and doctors.
If you or a loved one has used Byetta and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, our lawyers may be able to help you sue the drug’s manufacturer to recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and other damages. To learn more about your legal rights, please fill out our free case review form today. There is a time limit for filing Byetta lawsuits and failure to take legal action within this time frame can bar you from ever seeking compensation for your losses.
Byetta Linked to Pancreatic Cancer, Studies Suggest
Gastroenterology: According to a study published in the medical journal Gastroenterology, patients using the injectable prescription medication Byetta may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Using adverse event reports submitted to the FDA between 2004 and 2009, researchers found a 2.9-fold increase in reported cases of pancreatic cancer among patients taking Byetta when compared to those pursuing other treatments. They also uncovered a six-fold increase in reported cases of pancreatitis among Byetta users.
JAMA Internal Medicine: According to an analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Byetta may double a patient’s risk of developing pancreatitis, a condition which has been linked to pancreatic cancer. The study examined more than 1,200 diabetes patients who were hospitalized for pancreatitis and compared them to a control group of diabetics who weren’t suffering from the condition. Among the patients with pancreatitis, 87 had filled a prescription for Byetta or the oral diabetes drug Januvia, compared with 58 in the control group.
Byetta Lawsuits Claim Drug is Defective, Unreasonably Dangerous
Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Co. are facing a number of lawsuits claiming that their diabetes drug is defective and unreasonably dangerous. These lawsuits allege that:
- The formulation of Byetta is flawed and increases a patient’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer
- The pharmaceutical companies concealed their knowledge that Byetta could cause pancreatic cancer from patients and medical professionals
- The pharmaceutical companies did not list pancreatic cancer in the drug’s product insert
- The medical community was not properly warned about the risks of pancreatic cancer associated with Byetta and failed to warn doctors to institute monitoring procedures to identify changes within the pancreas
- The current warnings for Byetta are inadequate
- Even if Byetta was sold with proper warnings, the risk of pancreatic cancer outweighs any benefit of the drug
- The pharmaceutical companies withheld their knowledge of the pancreatic cancer risk to prevent any chances of their drug’s registration being denied or delayed by the FDA
Is This a Class Action Lawsuit?
No, this is not a class action lawsuit. Our attorneys are helping Byetta users and their loved ones file individual lawsuits to recover compensation for their losses.
In August 2013, a motion was approved to consolidate cases involving Byetta and other diabetes drugs to a single court. A federal panel of judges found that consolidation of the suits into multidistrict litigation (MDL) would be appropriate as the cases all share similar allegations and questions of fact. (MDLs, as opposed to class actions, are commonly used for cases involving defective drugs and are appropriate in instances in which it is believed that a large number of patients were injured by the same product.)
Consolidation of the cases will save the money, time and resources of all parties involved, eliminate duplicate discovery (a stage in the legal process where documents are shared, witnesses are interviewed, etc.) and allow for more consistent rulings.
For Byetta users who are considering legal action, it is important to remember that while the cases have been combined for coordinated pretrial proceedings, each claimant retains control over his or her individual suit. As of February 2014, there are 306 lawsuits pending against the manufacturer of Byetta and similar drugs linked with pancreatic cancer.
How Could Byetta Cause Cancer?
It is believed that Byetta can increase a patient’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer due to increased levels of Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor activity. Byetta and other diabetes drugs classified as incretin mimetics mimic naturally occurring GLP-1 hormones, but are resistant to metabolism by the body’s enzymes.
These drugs lower blood glucose levels by increasing GLP-1 receptor activity, which some have suggested is a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer. Diabetics typically do not produce enough naturally occurring incretins, including GLP-1, which is a gastrointestinal hormone that is released into the bloodstream to signal the release of insulin during and after eating to reduce blood sugar levels.
FDA Warnings for Byetta
In 2007, the FDA announced that it had received a number of reports of pancreatitis in Byetta users, and, in 2009, required Amylin Pharmaceuticals to conduct post-marketing studies to further examine the risk factors for developing acute pancreatitis and to “explore a potential signal of a serious risk of thyroid cancer and pancreatic cancer.” Since the FDA’s first announcement in 2007, doctors have reportedly expressed concern that diabetes treatments such as Byetta and Januvia may be harmful to the pancreas.
In early 2013, the FDA announced that it would be looking into new, unpublished findings that suggest an increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous cell changes in patients taking Byetta and similar diabetes drugs.
Contact Our Attorneys
At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys believe that patients should be fully aware of the side effects of their medications. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and have used Byetta, we may be able to help you file a lawsuit to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other losses.
We have a proven record in holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions and are offering you a free consultation today to learn more about your options.