The makers of Belviq face a growing number of lawsuits filed by former users of the weight-loss medication who claim that side effects of Belviq caused them to develop cancer. The recalled diet drug, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 and removed from the market in 2020, has been linked to an increased occurrence of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and other cancers in users. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with cancer after using the diet drug Belviq, do not hesitate to discuss your legal options with an experienced Belviq cancer lawyer. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible to bring a claim against the makers of recalled Belviq for your injuries.
Belviq and Belviq extended-related (XR) were prescription weight-loss medications manufactured by Eisai Inc. The drugs were meant to be used in combination with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet to aid weight loss among obese adults and overweight adults with weight-related medical problems. Belviq worked by increasing feelings of fullness so that people taking the medication felt fuller than they actually were and thus consumed less food. When the FDA approved Belviq (lorcaserin) in 2012, the agency required Eisai to conduct a clinical trial to assess the potential risk of cardiovascular problems among Bleviq users. Instead of a cardiovascular risk though, the trial revealed an increased risk of several different types of cancer among Belviq users, including pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
In January 2020, after reviewing the cancer data from the Belviq clinical trial, the FDA issued a drug safety communication alerting consumers and the medication community that “results from a clinical trial assessing safety show a possible increased risk of cancer with the weight management medicine Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin).” At that time, the FDA reported that the cause of cancer was uncertain, and the agency could not conclude that Belviq actually contributed to the cancer risk. The following month, Belviq and Belviq XR were recalled by the FDA due to an increased occurrence of cancer among users of the diet drug. According to the FDA, patients should stop taking Belviq and talking to their healthcare providers about alternative options for managing their weight.
In the wake of the Belviq recall, Eisai and Arena Pharmaceuticals have been targeted by a growing number of product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of former Belviq users who suffered cancer and other injuries allegedly caused by the weight-loss medication, including two new claims filed at the end of August. In one such lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma on August 27, plaintiff Pamela Puskas alleged that she developed breast cancer after using Belviq to manage her weight. In the other lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, plaintiff Mildred Smith alleged that taking Belviq caused her to develop rectal cancer.
“When warning of safety and risks of Belviq, Defendants negligently and/or fraudulently represented to the medical and healthcare community, the Food and Drug Administration, to Plaintiff, and the public in general, that Belviq had been tested and was found to be safe and/or effective for its indicated use,” the Belviq cancer lawsuits state. “Defendants concealed their knowledge of Belviq’s defects from Plaintiff, the FDA, the public in general, and/or the medical community specifically.”
When Belviq was approved by the FDA in 2012, it became the first prescription weight-loss medication to enter the market in more than a decade, and it became a popular treatment option for obese and overweight individuals trying to lose weight. However, shortly after Belviq was approved, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen predicted that the diet drug would eventually be removed from the market due to a potential risk of harmful side effects, much like fen-phen, Dexatrim/Accutrim, Meridia and weight-loss medications containing ephedra were discontinued. Today, the plaintiffs in the Belviq litigation allege, among other things, that Eisai Inc. knew or should have known about the potential risk of cancer from Belviq, yet withheld this information from consumers and the medical community.
Belviq was only on the market in the United States for eight years and sales were strongest during the past few years. As such, it is widely expected that additional Belviq lawsuits will be filed in the coming months and years, as former users continue to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and other serious injuries. If you took Belviq to help you lose weight and you have since been diagnosed with any type of cancer, you may be able to recover financial compensation from Eisai Inc. for your injuries, medical expenses and other damages. Consult a knowledgeable Belviq cancer attorney as soon as possible to explore your options for legal recourse.