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State & Federal Byetta and Januvia Lawsuits Coordinated

The diabetes drugs Byetta, Januvia, Janumet and Victoza – all types of incretin mimetics – have been tied to an increased risk of thyroid and pancreatic cancer. Last year, federal multidistrict litigation was established to better handle the escalating litigation involving alleged incretin mimetic side effects.  At present an estimated 260 complaints have been coordinated in the Southern District of California before District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia.

Each Byetta and Januvia lawsuit, though consolidated with other similar claims in a single court, retains its individual status and right to a verdict or settlement.

In addition to federal cases, incretin mimetic lawsuits have also been centralized in Los Angeles Superior Court, where Judge William F. Highberger is managing pretrial proceedings as part of Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding (JCCP).

Byetta and Januvia lawsuits consolidated in state & federal courts

On January 16, 2014, the MDL court held a Status Conference in which Judge Highberger participated. According to an order from Judge Anthony J. Battaglia, Judge Highberger provided a report on the pending cases in the Los Angeles County JCCP. This included a trial scheduled to start on February 18, 2014 involving the alleged side effect of pancreatitis. Judge Highberger will participate in the “Science Days,” but will defer participating in future Case Management Conferences until the need arises.

The majority of incretin mimetic cases allege that Janumet, Victoza, Byetta and Januvia caused the plaintiffs or their loved ones to develop pancreatic cancer. At least 35 of these products liability lawsuits deal with cancer of the thyroid. Since this number is relatively low, thyroid cancer claims are not able to join MDL at present, but a motion may soon be filed by plaintiffs’ counsel to merge these cases under the Incretin Mimetics MDL (No. 2452).

Judge Battaglia also outlined the schedule for upcoming case management and status conferences, with February 7 and February 18 slated to resolve issues within the consolidated litigation.

Incretin mimetic litigation expected to increase

Numerous studies have revealed a correlation between Byetta, Januvia and pancreatic damage. Just last fall, Italian researchers found at least 90 incidents of pancreatitis and elevated pancreatic enzymes among 1,169 users of incretin mimetics. Acute pancreatitis is often viewed as a precursor to full-blown pancreatic cancer – one of the most deadly types of the disease with a very low survival rate.

Patients who took the diabetes drugs under the impression they were safe and effective, now hold manufacturers liable for their life-threatening injuries. At this time, the Incretin Mimetic MDL is only accepting cases involving any combination of Byetta, Januvia, Janumet or Victoza, but the drug Onglyzer may soon be included depending on Judge Battaglia’s ruling at the next status conference. Produced by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Onglyzer (saxagliptin) is another incretin mimetic intended to treat Type 2 diabetes which has also been linked to cancer of the pancreas.

There are roughly fourteen additional diabetes drugs on the market containing the same ingredients that allegedly caused thyroid and pancreatic cancer in incretin mimetic patients. The implication being that MDL and JCCP case loads may grow as new defendants are joined in the litigation. During the recent status conference, the court indicated it will continue to monitor the filing of new lawsuits and will look to counsel for further status as the cases proceed.

Injured patients who have brought a Januvia and Byetta lawsuit seek compensation for past, present and future medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


  1. US JPML - IN RE: INCRETIN MIMETICS PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION Transfer Order, http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2452-Initial_Transfer-07-13.pdf

  2. FDA - Drug Safety Communication: FDA investigating reports of possible increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous findings of the pancreas from incretin mimetic drugs for type 2 diabetes, http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm343187.htm