The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ruled to consolidate lawsuits alleging that Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo’s brand-name olmesartan, can cause serious gastrointestinal issues. According to Reuters, the panel handed down its ruling after a March 26 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Benicar was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for use as a blood pressure medication. Since then, it has been prescribed to over 11 million Americans. However, Benicar has been linked in numerous studies to serious gastrointestinal side effects. In 2013, the FDA warned doctors and patients that Benicar and similar blood pressure medications are associated with a gastrointestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy, which can lead to severe intestinal issues such as chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive weight loss. Following its findings, the FDA reported that the label on Benicar would be updated to reflect these health risks.
Dozens of plaintiffs have filed Benicar lawsuits against Daiichi Sankyo seeking various damages. Plaintiffs in Benicar lawsuits seek damages for claims including defective product design, breach of warranty, negligence, and fraud. Plaintiffs in the recently formed multidistrict litigation allege that Daiichi Sankyo failed to warn doctors and patients of the gastrointestinal health risks posed by Benicar.
The ruling to consolidate comes after what has already been a problematic year for Daiichi Sankyo. In January, the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control and the U.S. federal government reached a settlement with Daiichi Sankyo after the New Jersey–based pharmaceutical giant was accused of violating Federal law in promoting its drugs Azor, Welchol, Tribenzor, and Benicar. The $39 million lawsuit stemmed from a whistleblower complaint filed by a former Daiichi Sankyo employee in 2010. The complaint in turn led to an investigation that found the company guilty of giving out exorbitant speaker program fees and lavish meals to doctors and physicians in return for recommending or selling the company’s drugs. The kickbacks were allegedly handed out from 2011 to 2014.
Always consult your doctor before making changes to your medications or treatment plan. The pharmaceutical lawyers at Lopez McHugh are currently consulting with Benicar patients to explore legal options. If you or a loved one suffered from gastrointestinal issues like sprue-like enteropathy after taking Benicar, contact our office now for a free consultation. You may be eligible to receive compensation through a Benicar lawsuit.