Benicar Bellwether Trials Expected Later This Year

The number of Benicar lawsuits continues to increase, with more than 1,250 as of April, 2016. Allergan plc (who acquired Forest Laboratories in July 2014), and the manufacturer of Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo, are currently defending the lawsuits which have increased significantly since early 2015, when there were only about 70 cases. Daiichi Sankyo is a Japanese pharmaceutical company, which maintains its headquarters in the state of New Jersey. From 2002 to 2008, Daiichi Sankyo spent over a billion dollars promoting Benicar, claiming the drug was vastly superior to other blood pressure drugs in its class both in safety and effectiveness. The lawyers at Golomb Legal represent more than 150 victims of severe gastrointestinal issues caused by Benicar and serve in leadership positions in the New Jersey multi-district litigation.

Extreme Weight Loss Tied to Benicar

The first group of bellwether trials for Benicar are projected to start by fall 2016. Bellwether trials give both sides an opportunity to see how a jury will receive the evidence, and can often trigger a settlement. Benicar is a drug used in the treatment of hypertension, which has been linked to several deaths as well as serious gastrointestinal injuries including sprue-like enteropathy, an issue which affects the gastrointestinal tract. Those who develop the sprue-like enteropathy suffer such symptoms as malnutrition, intestinal damage, extreme weight loss and chronic diarrhea. Some of those who have taken Benicar have lost more than 100 pounds, and have developed major complications as a result.

FDA Warns Consumers About Benicar But Does Not Call for a Recall of the Drug

The FDA issued a Benicar warning in 2013, regarding Benicar’s potential to trigger serious chronic diarrhea and significant levels of weight loss. Despite Daiichi Sankyo’s claim that Benicar was safe and effective, several studies—as well as the FDA—have concluded that no other drugs besides Benicar in the angiotensin receptor blocker class have been found to cause such severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Sprue-like enteropathy causes the lining of the intestines to lose its texture, making it extremely difficult to absorb nutrients. This condition is known as villous atrophy. In many cases, those who were injured by Benicar went from doctor to doctor seeking a diagnosis. Many doctors, unfamiliar with the potential side effects of Benicar, wrongly diagnose the symptoms as Celiac disease, which is an allergy to gluten.

The First Benicar Lawsuit

In the first Benicar lawsuit the plaintiff, according to his complaint, was hospitalized for more than 100 days because of Benicar, developing cataracts and a compression fracture in his back. He must now use a feeding tube for the remainder of his life. That initial complaint alleges Daiichi Sankyo placed consumers at risk by failing to warn the public of a defective, dangerous drug. Other plaintiffs have alleged that Daiichi and Forest knew of the dangers associated with Benicar, and deliberately withheld that information in order to maximize profits. Daiichi Sankyo settled a case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice for $39 million in April 2015. The lawsuit claimed the manufacturer of Benicar provided illegal kickbacks to physicians who prescribed Benicar.

Benicar Issues May Take Months or Years to Emerge

It appears that the serious gastrointestinal issues potentially associated with Benicar can take months or years to emerge, and by that time it may be too late to mitigate the potential damage. For the elderly in particular, the severe diarrhea from Benicar can be especially serious. Dehydration and gastrointestinal issues can lead to such severe malnutrition and weight loss, that seniors can quickly end up in the hospital, with a dire prognosis. Some studies have shown that the longer Benicar is used, the higher the risk for long-term or permanent gastrointestinal damage.

Mayo Clinic Finds Link Between Benicar and Sprue-Like Enteropathy

One study done by the Mayo Clinic in 2012 found a link between the active ingredient in Benicar, olmesartan, and sprue-like enteropathy. The FDA found clear evidence of an association between olmesartan and sprue-like enteropathy when they looked at their Adverse Event Reporting System database. If you or a loved one have suffered harm after taking Benicar, it could be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced dangerous drug attorney who will ensure your rights are protected while fighting for a fair settlement on your behalf.

National Dangerous Drug Lawyers

If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or GI complications like weight loss or chronic diarrhea after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's negligence. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the Philadelphia dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb Legal today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177, or fill out our confidential Contact Form.