San Diego, CA (PRWEB) December 19, 2013
Resource4thePeople announced today that its national network of attorneys will be available over the upcoming holiday season to consumers inquiring about litigation involving diabetes medications Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza.
The largest group of such lawsuits* has been consolidated before a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California because they share common allegations that the medications cause life-threatening pancreatic cancer.
“We are proud to announce that our policy of providing free consultations to consumers inquiring about these allegations and their legal options to seek compensation will not be interrupted by the holiday season,” said Resource4thePeople.
"In response to numerous inquiries from consumers who have asked about whether our attorneys will be available over the holidays we are announcing that our 24-hour hotline will be staffed for those who may be seeking legal options about their eligibility to seek compensation."
The multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California was approved** by a federal judiciary panel because of common allegations that the diabetes medications may cause pancreatic cancer.
In one of the latest developments in the litigation, the judge overseeing the cases, U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia, has scheduled a Jan. 16, 2014 status conference.
"A status conference is a hearing at which lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants update the judge on the progress of the litigation and any problems that have developed," said Resource4thePeople.
"We will monitor these developments and continue to update consumers who are following this litigation or are considering seeking compensation in connection with these allegations."
The latest figures*** provided by the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation shows that there are now 163 cases in the multidistrict litigation before Judge Battaglia.
Among the lawsuits is one**** filed by a Stamford, Conn. woman who has brought multiple allegations on behalf of herself and other consumers against the manufacturers of one of the medications, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
The Connecticut woman's lawsuit alleges that she was prescribed and used Januvia beginning in or around July, 2009 and continued using it until at least January, 2011. She claims she was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has suffered severe physical, economic and emotional injuries as a result of using the drug, according to the case file.
"As a result of the defective nature of Januvia, persons who were prescribed and ingested Janumet, which contains Januvia, for even a brief period of time, including Plaintiff herein, were at increased risk for developing life-threatening pancreatic cancer," she alleges in her lawsuit. "Once that cancer spreads, a patient stands just a 1.8% chance of surviving for longer than five years."
She also claims in the lawsuit that "Defendants concealed their knowledge that Janumet, can cause life threatening pancreatic cancer from Plaintiff, other consumers, the general public, and the medical community. Indeed, the manufacturers of Januvia and Janumet do not even mention pancreatic cancer in their drug's respective product inserts."
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation In its order** described the common allegations:
“Plaintiffs in all actions allege that the use of one or more of four anti-diabetic incretin based medications – Janumet (sitagliptin combined with metformin), Januvia (sitagliptin), Byetta (exenatide) and Victoza (liraglutide) – caused them or their decedent to develop pancreatic cancer,” the panel said.
Possible links between these medications and pancreatitis and cancer were announced in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration March 14, 2013 health advisory***** that also said officials were conducting an investigation into the medications’ side effects.
The FDA identified these drugs as exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), sitagliptin (Januvia, Janumet, Janumet XR, Juvisync), saxagliptin (Onglyza, Kombiglyze XR), alogliptin (Nesina, Kazano, Oseni), and linagliptin (Tradjenta, Jentadueto).
These medications are known as incretin mimetic drugs and are a commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of diabetes, the FDA said.
The FDA said in its advisory that its findings were based on examination of a small number of pancreatic tissue specimens taken from patients after they died from unspecified causes.
The FDA has asked researchers to provide the methodology used to collect and study these specimens and to provide the tissue samples so the agency can further investigate its concerns.
The agency said the medications are used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
In its announcement, the FDA reiterated a previous public warning “about postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis, including fatal and serious nonfatal cases, associated with the use of incretin mimetic drugs exenatide and sitagliptin.”
An agency official also said that a recently published study that examined insurance records also found the use of exenatide or sitagliptin could double the risk of developing acute pancreatitis.
The official said that the Warnings and Precautions section of the drug labels and the patient Medication Guides for incretin mimetics now contain warnings about the risk of acute pancreatitis.
Resource4thePeople also is recommending that consumers update themselves on media reports about the side effects, such as one posted March 22, 2013 by Bloomberg News about the research study and concerns about the safety of the medication as voiced by the FDA earlier and by physicians:******
“Doctors have been concerned that this category of diabetes treatments may damage the pancreas since the FDA said in 2007 it received a high number of reports of pancreatitis in patients taking Byetta," Bloomberg reported.
*MDL #2452 In Re: Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
**** Case # 3:13cv02382 United States District Court for the Southern District of California