According to a recent news release, regulators in Europe have concluded that there is little evidence that widely used drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes could cause pancreatic inflammation or pancreatic cancer.
Besides the European agency, the Food and Drug Administration has been reviewing the safety of a big class of drugs that includes Januvia by Merck and the drugs Byetta, Bydureon, and Onglyza, which are sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. These drugs, called incretin mimetics by the FDA, increase the body’s levels of a hormone that helps to control blood sugar levels.
They have, however, been linked to pancreatic inflammation known as pancreatitis. While the European agency said that the clinical trials had shown no increased risk of pancreatic cancer, the FDA said the trials were too small to draw firm conclusions.
The recent European news is music to the ears of these diabetic drug manufacturers who had more than $9 billion in global sales last year. Januvia and Janumet, also manufactured by Merck, together earned $5.7 billion.
How, Then, Do We Explain the Byetta/Januvia Lawsuits?
This is one study that goes the other way. But it flies in the face of all the next evidence suggesting that these drugs can cause pancreatic cancer. Keep in mind that these were very small trials. The FDA is certainly not buying into it and they are reserving judgment.
I think this is the history of many mass tort claims:
- Problem becomes obvious
- Lawyers start filing suit, probably prematurely
- The science and the studies begin to follow #1
- There are a few rebuttal studies, usually of dubious methodology
- The case starts going to trial
- The science becomes even more clear
- The case settled in massive numbers
I think we are on Stage #4 right now.
If you or a loved one has used Januvia or Janumet, or any of the other well-known diabetes drugs, and suffered from acute pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, please call one of our attorneys at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free no-obligation consultation.