Benicar Litigation Moves Forward – Laws to Change
As the 2012 Mayo Clinic’s case study linking Benicar to severe sprue-like enteropathy continues to be discussed, patients are coming forward to report negative side effects suffered from taking the drug. With the New Year came yet another California personal injury lawsuit filed over Benicar (generic “olmersartan”): one lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California in January 2015 alleges that the makers of Benicar did not properly warn patients about the risks associated with the drug. The case – Verduzco v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., (Case No. 3:15-cv-159) – is currently before the US District Court, Northern District of California.
Benicar has been prescribed to patients to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), but patients need to be particularly careful if they also take cholesterol-lowering drugs because there can be a dangerous reaction if these medications are taken at the same time as Benicar. Benicar can also result in serious side effects, such as dizziness, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, and the more serious sprue-like enteropathy (intestinal problems that include severe diarrhea and substantial weight loss).
The Verduzco complaint specifically addresses the link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. According to the court documents, two plaintiffs, Louis Verduzco and Michael Ewald, developed personal injuries including “sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, lymphocytic colitis, microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis, and/or intestinal malabsorption.”
Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea, intestinal problems and substantial weight loss. These symptoms mimic that of Celiac disease, but are not associated with Celiac disease. For the plaintiffs, these conditions resulted in chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, dehydration and/or acute renal failure. Plaintiffs alleged that they had to be hospitalized for their conditions and now require ongoing medical monitoring due to the drug. They also allege that they were unaware of any adverse side effects associated with Benicar, and that the maker of the drug (Daiichi Sankyo) did not properly first test the drug to prove that it was actually effective for treating hypertension.
FDA Requests Label Changes
This is certainly not the first, nor last time that Benicar will be on the hot seat. Back in June 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication regarding Benicar, requesting that the drug company go through a label adjustment to reflect this. There has since been a plethora of lawsuits filed across the nation, mostly arising from the Mayo Clinic Study. The lawsuits claim that the manufacturer of Benicar knew of the link between Benicar and the rare gastro disease caused by their drug, but did not properly warn the public of the risk. Those who took Benicar were then severely injured as a result of exposure to the drug. In fact, a motion to consolidate lawsuits was filed with the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in late 2014. These 2014 lawsuits allege that Benicar was defective and dangerous, and clinical trials for the drug lasted only three months, while the drug is typically prescribed for six months to a year. See e.g., Dirksen v. Daiichi Sankyo.
The slew of mass tort litigation illustrates that consumers are now taking to the courtroom to force companies to change their marketing practices and products. One thing is clear: while corporations continue to put profits ahead of public safety, the lawsuits will continue.
Contact Inland Empire Injury Law Group
The experienced personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Justin King are currently speaking to individuals who were prescribed Benicar and experienced serious gastrointestinal side effects. If you are considering participation in the Benicar side effect lawsuit or if you or a loved one has suffered injuries or side effects from taking the drug Benicar, contact our California personal injury law firm to discuss your legal options today. The Law Office of Justin H. King are auto accident attorneys as well as attorneys who represent victims of products liability.