Belviq Lorcaserin Lawsuit - Legal Claims for Causing Cancer

Updated

A Belviq (lorcaserin) lawsuit is a claim for monetary compensation by patients who developed cancer after taking the weight-management drug. Plaintiffs accuse Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai Inc. of creating a defective drug and failing to inform physicians about their carcinogenic properties.

Shouse Law Group is representing Belviq victims throughout America. We are demanding that the drugmakers reimburse our clients for their doctor's bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

These lawsuits are not part of a class action. Each client's case is unique and remains separate. To achieve settlements as soon as possible, we expect to participate in a JCCP. This is similar to a multi-district litigation (MDL).

Potential plaintiffs are people who developed cancer after taking Belviq or Belviq XR. The most common cancers are: 

  • Pancreatic,
  • Colorectal (colon or rectal), and
  • Lung

The statute of limitations to sue may be only one or two years. So we urge victims to seek legal counsel immediately.

In this article, our Belviq lawyers discuss:

Belviq
The makers of Belviq have recalled the drug. It may cause cancer.

1. What are the grounds for a Belviq lawsuit?

Attorneys are still determining the most effective claims to bring against Arena and Eisai. They will likely be one or both of the following:

  1. Belviq had a defective design, and/or
  2. Belviq's labeling failed to warn about the cancer risks

1.1 Defective design

A drugmaker is strictly liable if:

  1. The drug's chemical makeup posed a foreseeable risk, and
  2. The drug was made and administered as it was meant to be

As early as 2010, there was evidence that Belviq caused tumors in rats. The FDA originally denied the drug for that very reason.1

Therefore, the drugmakers should have known that Belviq's "design" increased the odds of cancer. Attorneys would rely on such evidence as:

  • Belviq's ingredient list and chemical recipe;
  • Expert testimony;
  • Studies showing the increased cancer risk

1.2 Improper labeling/ failure to warn

Drugmakers are legally obligated to:

  • Warn medical providers of the drug's non-obvious hazards, and
  • Inform medical providers of ways to avoid these dangers

Doctors who prescribed Belviq to their patients had no idea about the extent of the cancer risks. Had Arena and Eisai warned them, they may have decided not to prescribe it. And had the patients known of the risks, they may have decided not to take Belviq.

The Belviq pill bottles themselves serve as "failure to warn" evidence. The information they omit suggests that doctors and patients were not fully informed of the cancer risks.

2. What injuries does Belviq cause?

Evidence suggests that Belviq causes cancer. According to the FDA, the most frequently occurring cancers are:

  • Pancreatic,
  • Colorectal, and
  • Lung

These results come from a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Over five years, 12,000 patients were tested.2

3. Is this a class action or individual lawsuits?

The Belviq litigation will likely be individual lawsuits. If it is like other "dangerous drug" cases, they will be joined in a JCCP out of California - where Arena is headquartered.

JCCPs are like state-level multi-district litigations (MDLs). And like MDLs, JCCPs are not class actions:

Class actions are just one case with several plaintiffs. In contrast, JCCPs keep every case separate. But during the pretrial process, one judge in one court presides over the cases. That helps to expedite litigation. 

At some point, the judge will allow a handful of cases to go to trial. These are referred to as bellwether trials. If the plaintiffs win - and how much - will set the tone for settlement talks in all the remaining cases.

4. Has Belviq been recalled?

The manufacturer voluntarily recalled Belviq on February 13, 2020. This follows a request by the FDA for the manufacturer to recall the drug. The FDA made this request because safety clinical trials revealed an increased risk of cancer.3

Therefore, Belviq is no longer commercially available. Anyone who has been prescribed Belviq is encouraged to consult with their doctors. Currently, the FDA is not recommending that Belviq users be screened for cancer. But patients should be vocal with their doctors about any unusual symptoms.

People who currently have Belviq pills in their possession may want to store them in a safe place. Otherwise, they should take photographs of the pill bottles before disposing of them. They could serve as evidence in a lawsuit along with prescription records and doctor's notes.

5. Have there been any settlements yet?

Not yet. Lawsuits are currently in their earliest stages. 

Settlement talks probably will not begin until some cases reach trial. The outcome of these bellwether trials acts as the jumping-off point for negotiations.

In any case, attorneys for Belviq victims will be aiming for the biggest settlements available. No amount of money can compensate for getting cancer. But money can make the journey a little easier for victims and their families.

6. Who makes Belviq?

Eisai Inc. manufactured Belviq to help patients manage their weight. The generic name is lorcaserin.

In 2010, the FDA would not approve Belviq. The reasons were its cancer-causing potential and marginal efficacy.

After new studies, the FDA approved Belviq in 2012. But there were restrictions. It was approved for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The FDA also approved it for adults with a BMI of 27 or higher and who have one or more obesity-related conditions. Examples include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia (high cholesterol)

In 2016, the FDA approved the extended release version, Belviq XR.

Belviq was originally developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals. Eisai assumed Belviq in 2017.4

Receptionists waiting for your call.
Call our mass tort Belviq attorneys at (877) 504-7750 today.

Are you a Belviq victim? Call us for help...

Did you develop cancer after taking Belviq? We are so sorry. We encourage you to contact our mass tort attorneys at (877) 504-7750. Or fill out the form on this page. We provide free consultations 24/7.

Our mission is to fight for the biggest settlement available in your case. And we accept no fee unless we win.


Legal References

  1. Pollack A., "F.D.A. Panel Rejects Diet Pill", New York Times (September 16, 2010).
  2. FDA requests the withdrawal of the weight-loss drug Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) from the market, FDA (February 13, 2020).
  3. Same.
  4. Drug Approval Package: Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride) Tablets NDA #022529, FDA (August 7, 2012); Belviq XR (lorcaserin hydrochloride) extended-release tablets, FDA (October 26, 2016); Lisa Lamotta, Diet no more: Arena sheds Belviq in Eisai sale, BioPharma Dive (January 5, 2017).

 

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