Byetta, Januvia & Victoza Pancreatic Cancer Lawyers – Drug Injury Lawsuits & Settlements

Since 1958, The Beasley Firm has fought for injured patients and consumers, obtaining over $2 billion in awards for our clients through hundreds of multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts. If you or a loved one developed pancreatic cancer after taking Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, or Victoza, contact our product liability lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by filling out the online form below, by calling The Beasley Firm at (888) 651-9530 or by calling Beasley Firm attorney Max Kennerly’s office directly at (215) 931-2634.

This website answers frequently asked questions about the lawsuits filed against the makers of Byetta, Januvia / Janumet, and Victoza, including:

  • What happened?
  • Who might have a claim for compensation? Have there been in jury trials or settlements?
  • How did this happen? Has the Food and Drug Administration recalled the drugs?
  • Is there a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of Byetta, Januvia, or Victoza?
  • How much does a pharmaceutical lawsuit cost?
  • Who are the drug injury lawyers behind this website?

What happened?

Scientific studies have shown that certain types of diabetes drugs that affect the GLP-1 metabolic pathway — such as Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, and Victoza — can increase the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Beginning in 2007, the FDA began issuing multiple healthcare provider alerts (see them here) noting the increased risk of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Byetta (exenatide), including both hemorrhagic and necrotizing pancreatitis. Lawsuits began to be filed against the maker of Byetta, Amylin Phamaceuticals, in 2008.

In 2011, researchers at the University of California reviewed FDA “adverse event” data and found that patients who used Byetta (exenatide) or Januvia (sitagliptin) had three times the risk of pancreatic cancer, even when other potential cases were ruled out. (The study’s abstract is available here). Other animal studies and oncological research has shown how those drugs might cause pancreatic cancer. In short, those drugs interfere with the GLP-1 metabolic pathway, which resides in the duct of the pancreas, which is where most pancreatic cancer originates. For more information, see attorney Max Kennerly’s blog post explaining how some diabetes drugs might cause pancreatic cancer.

In light of this data, many pharmaceutical liability lawyers have been investigating and filing lawsuits on behalf of Byetta and Januvia users who developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. As of December 2012, there are two “judicially coordinated” proceedings involving multiple pancreatic cancer lawsuits, one in California state court (administered by Judge Highberger in Los Angeles), the other in New Jersey state court (administered Judge Higbee in Atlantic City).

Who might have a claim for compensation? Have there been any jury trials or settlements?

As a matter of ethics, no lawyer for Byetta, Januvia, or Victoza patients — including our law firm — can say for sure who will get any compensation, and no lawyer can guarantee any particular amount their client could receive in a settlement or jury verdict.

As of December 2012, many lawsuits have been filed, but there have been no jury verdicts and no settlements. The first “bellwhether” jury trial involving a claim that one of these diabetes medications caused pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer is scheduled to take place in April 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

We are currently investigating all cases in which a patient developed acute pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer after taking Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, or Victoza. There are studies suggesting that diabetics are already at risk for pancreatic cancer, and we know that the defendants intend to rely heavily on those studies in their case, but we are confident that there’s much more to the story here, and that the science will continue to prove out clients’ claims.

How did this happen? Has the Food and Drug Administration recalled Byetta, Januvia or Victoza?

Diabetes control medications are a huge market, with over $40 billion in annual sales in the United States alone. That’s why companies like Novo Nordisk, manufacturer of Victoza, are willing to pay big money to celebrities like Paula Deen to advertise their products.

Unfortunately, the potential for huge profits, and the presence of serious competition —  there are over two dozen Type 2 diabetes medications on the market today — means that pharmaceutical companies have a big incentive not to properly investigate these medications, and a big incentive to avoid admitting the drugs’ real dangers. The FDA has ordered additional studies on Byetta, and the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has petitioned the FDA to remove Victoza from the market completely, but as of now all of the major GLP-1 pathway diabetes medications remain on the market.

Sadly, sometimes the FDA has an “approve first, ask questions later” mentally, as we are also seeing in the ongoing Actos bladder cancer and Pradaxa bleeding lawsuits we are handling.

Is there a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of Byetta, Januvia, or Victoza?

There are no Byetta or Januvia class actions out there, but there is consolidated litigation, i.e., the California and New Jersey proceedings described above. (Patients in any state can file lawsuits in those proceedings; the proceedings are located there because some of the defendant companies, like Merck, are based in those states.)

Class actions are created by lawyers to join a bunch of similar cases together; consolidated cases are created by the courts to streamline the management of mass torts involving hundreds or thousands of victims, and to avoid overlapping and duplicative use of judicial resources.

Many of the differences between class actions and consolidated litigation are largely technical and only matter to lawyers, but the key point for clients is that, in “consolidated” litigation, each case is filed, handled, and settled individually (with some, but not all, court rulings applicable to everyone), as opposed to a class action, where all the cases rise and fall together and everyone has the same result.

How much does a pharmaceutical lawsuit cost?

We provide free consultations to all pharmaceutical injury clients, and we handle all of our pharmaceutical lawsuits on a purely contingent fee basis, where we don’t get paid unless you win compensation.

In addition to putting in our attorney time on a contingent fee, we pay all costs and expense in the lawsuit — like expenses for expert witnesses and court reporters — and, if we don’t recover any compensation for you, you don’t have to reimburse us for those costs and expenses. If we do recover compensation for you, then we are reimbursed for those costs and expenses, and we take a portion of the award as our attorneys’ fee.

We charge a 40% attorney’s fee. You can probably find lawyers who will charge a lower percentage, but, in my opinion, you wouldn’t want to hire them. Drug and medical device cases are enormously risky for lawyers to pursue, with the potential for law firms to waste thousands of hours, and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, on cases that could all be dismissed by a court with the stroke of a pen. Any lawyer charging a low contingent fee percentage is only doing so because they don’t plan to put too much time or too many resources into the case.

Which drug injury lawyers run this website?

Since 1958, The Beasley Firm has fought for injured patients and consumers, obtaining over $2 billion in awards for our clients through hundreds of multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts. We review potential claims without requiring you sign a fee agreement, we never make our injured clients pay up front or take the financial risk of the case losing, and we have decades of experience in courtrooms and at trial.

We are dedicated to advancing the law as a profession: the law school at Temple University, for example, was renamed the Beasley School of Law following a $20 million gift from our firm founder, Jim Beasley, Sr. (He didn’t ask for the renaming, the school did it out of gratitude.) Lately we’ve been addressing the dearth of investigative journalism in the legal system by hiring world-class journalists to cover big trials and then report on them to the public — for free.

As for me, I’m not a an actor on a television commercial or someone in a call center: I’m a real lawyer who has successfully tried serious injury and wrongful death cases in front of juries. If you use the contact form below, the email goes to me. If you call (215) 931-2634, it will be answered by me or by my secretary, Cindy, who will help schedule your intake interview with Paula, one of our nurse paralegals who worked with patients as a nurse for years. We’re real people on the fifth floor of the Beasley Building trying to obtain answers and justice for individuals like you, not just put your name and number into a database.