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Januvia Lawsuits Moving Forward, Reviews Ongoing

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New York, NYProduct liability claims involving incretin mimetic medications such as Januvia are moving forward in courts nationwide. Plaintiffs allege they developed pancreatic cancer due to their use of these drugs.

According to the law firm Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a ruling issued in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California on September 10, 2014 has denied plaintiffs a Motion to Compel discovery of defendants’ analysis of a causal association between the drugs and pancreatic cancer (In Re: Incretins Products Liability, Sales and Marketing Litigation, MDL 2452). A press release issued by the law firm said that the “plaintiffs’ motion had specifically challenged the sufficiency of defendants’ responses to certain interrogatories. However, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia found that the responses were sufficient given the limited scope of discovery previously set by the Court.”

However, litigation surrounding incretin mimetics has been growing steadily since March 2013. At that time, the FDA said it was reviewing findings that indicated their use could be associated with precancerous changes in the cells of the pancreas. (The findings were from an unpublished study.) Last summer the FDA said it wasn’t “worried” about this study linking Januvia and other incretin mimetics with pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, but the jury is still out on these Type 2 diabetes drugs: the agency has not determined that such a link exists, but its review is ongoing. As well, its European counterpart has said they have “not reached a final conclusion” and will also continue investigating.

2013 was not a good year for Januvia. Merck and Co., its manufacturer, reported that the drug’s sales fell 2 percent short of the $4.09 billion it made in 2012, and that its lower US sales were due to safety worries. Meanwhile, big pharma continues to cash in from diabetes. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29.1 million people in the US alone have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, with about 9 million of that amount undiagnosed.

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