Januvia and its variations, including Janumet, were developed by Merck & Co as treatments for type 2 diabetes. Januvia is intended to be used in conjunction with other type 2 diabetes medications, including Byetta, which is a twice-daily injection developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Januvia was approved by the FDA in 2006; Byetta was approved in 2005. In 2012, a longer-lasting and single-injection variation of Byetta, called Bydureon, was approved by the FDA. Later that same year, Bristol-Myers Squibb purchased Amylin Pharmaceuticals, and all of its products, including Byetta and Bydureon.
While Januvia and Byetta were both found to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, they also pose a high risk of potentially serious, and sometimes fatal, side effects. Side effects of Januvia and Byetta include pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Thyroid cancer is also a serious side effect of Byetta. Other commonly reported side effects of both drugs include nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea, among others.
Many users of Januvia and Byetta who have contracted pancreatic diseases since being prescribed have filed lawsuits against the drugs’ distributors and manufacturers, Merck & Co, Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly & Co, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In August, 2013, California cases have been grouped together as one large case proceeding. Because of the large amount of current cases and increasing amount of cases being filed, a federal panel may decide to consolidate all Januvia and Byetta suits under multi-district litigation.
Plaintiffs filing suit against Januvia and Byetta manufacturers and distributors assert that the defendants either were aware of or should have been aware that the drugs in question “created ‘a high risk of unreasonable, dangerous side effects, including causing and increasing the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.’ As a result, claimants have suffered ‘grievous bodily injury, and untimely death,’ along with other losses.” Plaintiffs also claim that patients and physicians were not adequately warned of the risks involved with taking the drugs, and that the drugs were over-promoted as safe curative measures.
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