Product News and Recalls

Diabetes drugs Byetta, Januvia generating lawsuits

A New York Times story about the link between certain diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer, says that more than 100 lawsuits have been filed. According to the report, more than 575 plaintiffs around the country are claiming injury from Byetta, and more than 40 claim Januvia caused pancreatic cancer.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter C. Butler, an internationally renowned diabetes expert who first sounded health warnings about the link is standing up to fierce pressure by corporate interests

The Times story includes an interview with a professor emeritus at the University of Bristol in Britain, who describes Butler as “an American hero … a rugged individualist who is not going to be browbeaten.”

Butler was first approached by drug manufacturer Merck to do a study on the company’s diabetes medication called Januvia. His 2008 study uncovered links between an entire class of medications call incretin mimetics, which include Januvia and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Byetta, with pancreatic cancer.

Previous research had incidcated a potential link between those medications and the risk of pancreatitis, which is a painful and potentially lethal inflammation of the pancreas, according to the report.

But Butler’s findings are even more alarming, since pancreatic cancer is virtually untreatable and usually kills patients within a year.

According to the New York Times, both the FDA and the European Medicines Agency have begun investigations that could result in new warnings on the drugs.

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.