The attorneys at Morgan and Morgan are investigating claims on behalf of Januvia users that have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Various academic and post-marketing studies have established a possible link between Januvia (sitagliptin) and pancreatic cancer. This link is particularly troubling because pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignant diseases, due to the high rate of advanced stage disease at the time of diagnosis and the lack of effective medical therapies.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia, do not hesitate to contact our attorneys today, free of charge, to learn more about your legal rights. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To contact us today, please fill out our free, no obligation case review form.
Januvia Lawsuits Claim Drug is Defective
Merck is facing a number of lawsuits claiming that Januvia is a flawed and defective product, and increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in users. These suits allege that:
- Merck knew Janvuia could pose a risk of pancreatic cancer and kept this information from patients and doctors
- The warnings on Januvia are inadequate and do not even mention pancreatic cancer
- Merck failed to tell doctors to monitor Januvia users for signs of changes within the pancreas
- Januvia poses an “extreme risk” and its benefits do not outweigh this risk
- Rather than pull the drug from the market or issue stronger warnings, Merck continues to promote Januvia as a safe and effective treatment
- Merck did not perform adequate safety tests
- Merck over-promoted Januvia and under-warned about its risks
These suits are seeking a number of damages, including but not limited to lost income, diminishment of earning capacity, medical bills and pain and suffering.
Is This a Class Action?
No. The lawsuits over Januvia and its alleged link to pancreatic cancer are being filed on behalf of individual plaintiffs and are not proceeding as a class action with the Morgan & Morgan class action lawyers. Our attorneys are helping Januvia users or their loved ones file individual claims for their losses.
A motion has been approved to consolidate cases involving Januvia and similar diabetes drugs for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation found that the cases made similar allegations and that consolidation would eliminate duplicate discovery (a step that includes taking depositions and reviewing relevant documents), allow for more consistent rulings, and help conserve the resources of all parties involved. It is important to remember that while the lawsuits have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings, you will still retain control over your individual case. As of February 2014, there are 306 lawsuits pending against the makers of Januvia and similar drugs linked to pancreatic cancer.
How is Januvia Linked to Pancreatic Cancer?
Januvia belongs to a class of drugs that work by slowing down the metabolism of naturally-occurring hormones known as incretins - specifically Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1). Typically, diabetics do not produce enough of these hormones on their own, and drugs such as Januvia allow these hormones to stay active in the bloodstream longer to reduce blood sugar levels. In doing so, Januvia will increase the patient’s GLP-1 receptor activity. It has been theorized, however, that this increased activity may put the user at a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Januvia Cancer Risk Highlighted in Academic Studies
In a 2009 UCLA study in Diabetes, researchers found that there may be a link between Januvia and pancreatic abnormalities, which carry a heightened risk of becoming pancreatitis and/or pancreatic cancer. This study, conducted on rats, also found that many of the pancreatic risks associated with Januvia can be reduced when used in conjunction with the older diabetes drug Glucophage (metformin).
In a follow-up study, researchers found a 6.7-fold increase of reported cases of pancreatitis and a 2.7-fold increase of reported pancreatic cancers by patients taking Januvia, compared to four control diabetes drugs. This study, published in Gastroenterology, analyzed reports of adverse conditions by doctors between 2004 and 2009, stored in the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System database.
Januvia FDA Warnings
2009: The FDA informed healthcare professionals that it would be revising the prescribing information for Januvia and fellow diabetes drug Janumet to include information on reports of acute pancreatitis in users of the drugs. The FDA reviewed 88 cases of acute pancreatitis reported to the agency’s adverse event reporting system between late 2006 and early 2009. According to the reports, 58 patients required hospitalization, four of whom ended up in the intensive care unit. Pancreatitis has been associated with serious complications, including infection, kidney failure and even pancreatic cancer in patients with long-term inflammation, and the FDA announced that it was recommending its revisions to alert the medical community to “this potentially serious adverse drug event.”
2011: The FDA threatened repercussions for Merck & Co. after the company neglected to complete a proposed animal study concerning the pancreatitis risk associated with Januvia (sitagliptin). When Januvia was approved, the FDA required that Merck was to complete the study and release the results by June 15, 2011. Allegedly, Merck’s initial design proposal was rejected by the FDA as inadequate, and the firm never submitted a revised protocol. Merck then reportedly submitted results of an independent study, which the FDA did not accept as a fulfillment of their agreement. The FDA responded in February, 2012 and demanded that Merck submit a new proposal and begin the study within six months. The results of that study have yet to be released.
2013: The FDA announced that it would be reviewing new research suggesting an increased risk of pre-cancerous cell chances and pancreatitis in Type 2 diabetes patients using Januvia, Byetta and similar diabetes drugs. According to the agency, these findings were “based on examination of a small number of pancreatic tissue specimens taken from patients after they died from unspecified causes.”
Januvia Lawyers Offering Free Case Review
If you or a loved one has taken Januvia and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about your legal options. You may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer to recover compensation for your losses. To receive a free, no obligation consultation from our Januvia attorneys, simply fill out our contact form today.