Imagine going to the doctor to receive treatment for diabetes, and leaving with a prescription for pancreatic cancer. This horrific scenario is all too relevant for those who were prescribed Januvia, a diabetes medication produced by Merck & Co and introduced to the market in 2006.
Januvia has been the subject of a series of lawsuits, launched by individual plaintiffs, alleging that Merck & Co over-promoted the drug, while simultaneously failing to warn doctors and patients of the potentially life-threatening side effects. Two recent cases demonstrating wrongful death as a result of taking Januvia serve to amplify the arsenal of accusations being lodged at Merck. One of these new lawsuits, launched from Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, involves a patient who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within a year of starting Januvia. Another new case, which is being filed in Los Angeles, seeks to demonstrate that taking regularly administered doses of Januvia resulted in the plaintiff’s developing acute pancreatitis.
Presently, all Januvia cases are being tried as individual lawsuits. However, because of the growing number of claims being filed and the increase in reported cases of pancreatic complications, all Januvia litigation may be consolidated into a single multi-district litigation.
Januvia was approved by the FDA in 2006 to help control blood sugar levels for patients with Type 2 Diabetes. However, as a side effect of Januvia’s treatment, the drug was also found to cause pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and other digestive ailments. A 2009 study conducted by UCLA demonstrated that Januvia is linked to increased risk for pancreatic abnormalities, including pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. A second study showed that Januvia-takers were almost three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than those who took other diabetes medication.
Plaintiffs are suing on the basis that Januvia manufacturers were aware of the high risks associated with Januvia, and did not adequately warn patients or physicians. Plaintiffs also believe that Januvia’s uses were over-advertised, potentially leading to some unnecessary prescriptions. As a result of both of these events, many who have taken Januvia were subject to pain, injury, illness, and in some cases, death. Litigation against Merck & Co. seeks reparations for all those directly affected by taking Januvia.
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