Product News and Recalls

Shares fall on announcement of diabetes drug risks

Shares of pharmaceutical companies that make newer types of diabetes medication have fallen, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that the agency is looking into potential health risks, according to a March 14 story in Bloomberg.

Among those drugs are Merck’s Januvia and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Byetta.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said the agency is seeking more information about recent findings linking the drugs to an increased risk of pancreatitis – an inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to pancreatic cancer and kidney failure.

An analysis of insurance records published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that diabetics hospitalized with pancreatitis were twice as likely to be taking Merck’s Januvia or Bristol-Myers’s Byetta than a control group of diabetics without the condition.

The story says the FDA previously added information about some fatal cases of pancreatitis to the detailed package inserts for Byetta in 2007, and Januvia in 2009. Previous studies have also linked Byetta to thyroid cancer.

Insulin is a disease that affects the body’s ability to make or use insulin, a hormone that causes glucose from foods to enter the cells and produce energy. Both Byetta and Januvia are in a class of drugs called GLP-1, which mimic the effects of a natural hormone that triggers insulin production.

Merck shares were down 48 cents in early afternoon trading on March 14, or 1.1 percent, at $48.11, after initially falling 2.2 percent. And shares of New York-based Bristol-Myers were down 30 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $38.19.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns, and before making any changes in medication. You should also consult with a Lopez McHugh attorney if you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia or Byetta.

See the story here: